Valley Christian can’t hold off Buckingham in volleyball comeback

By: Robbie Enos
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There were several important numbers in Valley Christian Academy’s five-set loss to Vacaville-Buckingham Charter on Monday Night:

Two, as in the deficit of that fifth set; three, as in the three-set comeback made by the visiting Knights; and 14, as in the jersey number of Buckingham’s Sabrina Joseph.

But numbers couldn’t describe the Lady Lions’ emotional 22-25, 23-25, 25-14, 25-15, 18-16 loss by themselves.

Valley Christian (13-4 overall, 8-2 Sacramento Metro Athletic League) had match point after taking a 15-14 lead in the fifth set but missed the ensuing serve. Buckingham’s Alison Erves made a slick tap on the next point, slapping the ball behind her back and over her head into an open space.

Joseph, who led Buckingham (12-5, 9-0) with 26 kills, spiked two consecutive winners before the Knights sealed the deal.

“That was my trouble all night long,” Valley Christian head coach Maria Hill said, referring to Joseph’s play. “I’m trying to get a block on (Joseph), but I have a short team. It’s hard to get a block with short players. She can go angle and line. She’s well rounded as a hitter.”

The victory gave Buckingham a 1½-game lead in the standings. The Knights would clinch a tie for the SMAL title by beating Wilton Christian on Tuesday night.

Janette Lewis served Buckingham to six consecutive points to open the third set and later led the Knights on a seven-point run. The second streak included three aces. Joseph had a service streak of seven in the fourth set.

“They’re confidence went way down (in sets three and four),” Hill said. “At first, they came in strong, and then you could just tell in their demeanor.”

Valley Christian will have a shot at redemption when it faces Buckingham again Thursday in Vacaville. Assistant coach Chris Patterson said the team will have to account for Joseph better.

“We need to do a better job of digging her,” Patterson said. “She caught us by surprise. She wasn’t as big of a player last year. Now we know what to expect out of her.”VCA can’t hold off Buckingham comeback