LANCASTER — Tears were shed. Emotions were high. And memories were made.
It was “Senior Night” at Lancaster High for the Eagles’ boys volleyball team and the eight seniors reflected on their time in high school.
The Eagles can add a three-set victory over Palmdale to their list of memories.
Following a come-from-behind, five set victory over Antelope Valley on Wednesday, Lancaster had momentum, “Senior Night” and the home crowd on its side and defeated the Falcons, 25-21, 25-17, 25-16, Friday evening.
With the victory, the Eagles (13-17, 9-3) gained a ½ game against the ’Lopes and now both teams are tied for second with two matches remaining next week.
“My fear entering this match (was) that we would have a lack of focus. We have a constant goal of being better than the day before,” Lancaster head coach Alfredo Garcia said. “I’m happy where we’re at, but I’m not satisfied. We always know we can get better.”
The teams split the first 34 points in the first set before the Eagles began to create separation after going on a 5-0 run, which included two kills and a block from Joey Flores. After the Falcons tried to climb back into the set, Lancaster’s Alex Luria sealed the set following his fifth kill to give his team a 1-0 lead.
The Eagles had three players with seven kills or more. Luria and his younger brother Bryan combined for 18 kills with Alex leading his team with 11. Kerondo Dolberry finished with seven kills and Flores had four kills and four blocks.
“Tonight was a great experience overall. Palmdale is a great team and they played really hard. I think we’ve grown so much over the season,” Alex Luria said. “Playoffs are just another step on the ladder for us. This match brought out a lot of emotions and nerves. We’re most solid when we’re focused. I’m very happy for the victory and we showed the crowd what we can do.”
They also showed Palmdale what they can do in a very clean played second set.
The first eight points scored by the Eagles in the second set came via the kill (seven) or the ace (one). Lancaster built leads of 8-3, 13-6 and 20-9 in the second. One stretch had a kill each from the Luria brothers and a block from Flores.
Trailing 20-9, Palmdale (6-9, 5-7) rallied to win eight of the next 12 points, but their hole was too deep to climb out of as the Eagles took a comfortable 2-0 lead.
“Our energy wasn’t where I wanted it to be entering the match. CIF is so close for us and I tell them if we want it we have to show it,” Falcons head coach Briana Garcia said. “We can’t afford to put our best efforts at the end. They must be at the beginning. We really needed this one, but I saw some key things they did out there that I was really proud of.”
Palmdale currently sits in fourth place in the Golden League standings tied with Knight. The top four spots receive automatic playoff bids. The teams hold a slim ½-game lead over Littlerock, which faces Eastside on Monday.
The Falcons were led by Josh Jones who finished with a match-high 12 kills.
“I thought we played a good game. We were getting balls up and I thought we came out ready to play,” said Jones. “But sometimes we have a lack of focus. If one unit dies, we all die. We have to come to practice (on Monday) with more focus and get ready for our final two matches.”
Lancaster kept its foot on the gas pedal in the third set and took advantage of five errors by the Falcons to build a 15-7 lead.