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Valley Christian achieves goal with berth in Division VI section volleyball final

Lady Lions come back to beat Victory Christian in five sets
By: Nick Hunte
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Valley Christian Academy kept its dream season alive with a narrow 3-2 victory over host Victory Christian on Tuesday night in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI semifinals.
The Lady Lions (17-5) came back to beat the Vikings 24-26, 25-19, 23-25, 25-14, 15-13 and will play Turlock Christian, a 3-1 winner over Sacramento Country Day, for the championship Thursday at UC Davis.

After winning the fourth set, which included 15 unanswered points, Valley Christian built a 14-6 lead in the final set and thought it won the match on a kill. But the referee called Valley Christian for hitting the net, and with new life, Victory Christian scored the next seven points to cut the deficit to 14-13.
The Lady Lions finally scored the winning point. Despite being on the road, the gym erupted with many Lions fans in attendance. Many players credited fan support for the win.

“We had a lot of fans here, and they kept cheering ‘VCA,’ and they were pumping us up,” said senior outside hitter and captain Erin Patterson, who had 29 kills.

Senior middle/outside hitter Emily Flood had 18 kills and said good defense was the key for Valley Christian in the fourth set and beyond.

“We wanted to stay on the defensive, especially when (Victory Christian) took out their starter,” Flood said, referring to 6-foot senior Audrey Boolen, who rested for most of the fourth set with her team ahead 2-1.

Lions head coach Maria Hill saw that as an opportunity to capitalize.

“They noticed that, ‘Oh, the blond girl is out,’ so I told my girls to calm down and keep the lead going and don’t get overly excited on this one,” Hill said.

Valley Christian had to win an out-bracket match over Stockton Christian to advance to the quarterfinals, where the Lions took out top-seeded New Life Christian in Marysville. Advancing to the section final as an underdog was special for the team.

“We exceeded expectations this year. These girls made huge improvements, especially being undersized,” Hill said. “We had the worst start at the beginning of the season, and I can’t believe my girls came together.”