Centennial rallies past Hillcrest in boys volleyball – Press-Enterprise

CORONA — Centennial’s boys volleyball team has never won a league title, and its victory over Hillcrest on Thursday night didn’t clinch anything — except a whole lot of confidence, and a whole lot of momentum.

The Huskies rallied after a first-set loss and won three consecutive sets to defeat the defending Big VIII League champ Trojans for the second time this season in a 15-25, 25-11, 25-17, 25-21 victory.

Centennial (14-4-1, 8-3 league) gained a little ground with the win, but it seemed like more. The Huskies won their second straight match and fourth of six in a Big VIII League race that still could be anybody’s game.

“Between us, King, Centennial, and Santiago, I don’t think this thing will be decided until the last game of the season,” Hillcrest coach Everton Souza said.

Tyler Matsen, the Huskies’ 6-foot-4 senior, led Centennial with 11 kills and junior Tayte Morris, also 6-4, had 10. Senior middle blocker Andy Le had but three blocks, but all three were timely and momentum-changers.

His biggest came in the third set with the Trojans (11-5, 7-4) serving down, 23-17. That block got the Huskies on serve for the game and stopped a mini-Hillcrest rally.

“This is his first year playing volleyball,” Centennial coach Krista Dupas said, “but he played keeper for soccer, so I think those eye-hand coordination moves totally translated when he came out for volleyball.

“He’s been a huge factor blocking-wise for us.”

Hillcrest, led by Methuselah Lewanavanua’s 13 kills, went back-and-forth with the Huskies in the fourth before Centennial closed the set — and the match — with a 6-2 run.

So how did the Huskies turn it around Thursday?

“We just all started being more positive with each other,” Morris said.

Hillcrest, too, feels like it’s coming along with a fairly new lineup. And in the Big VIII, where four teams entered the day with a half-game of the league lead, there’s still time for success.

“I think were headed in the right direction with what we’re doing,” Souza said. “I think our biggest problem is nerves right now. We came in today in the first game just playing volleyball, and we played phenomenal. As soon as we realized we were right there and we had something important that we might lose, we tightened up a little bit.”

Centennial rallies past Hillcrest in boys volleyball – Press-Enterprise

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