By GERARDO RECINOS
This season has already gotten off to an unprecedented start for the Bulldogs, but nothing is more satisfying for those in blue and gold than beating the purple and black Falcons.
The varsity boys volleyball team’s 3-0 victory over College Park on Thursday night (March 10) was a wash, similar to College Park’s wins in the rivalry match two years ago.
But as anyone who has seen Alhambra volleyball in the last two years will know, there has been a lot of change for the better in the program.
College Park was reeling off the losses of co-Diablo Valley Athletic League MVP Noah Fisher and first-team all-DVAL selections Tim Bayara, Steven Dailly and Dakota Seidenspinner, all seniors last year.
But they still had a duo of second-team all-DVAL players in juniors Dylan Ban and Tyler Stokes.
Stokes in particular had a good game, but one man was not enough for the fire power Alhambra now has on display.
In the first game, the two teams battled through a tight contest. However it looked more like Alhambra just hadn’t gotten into top gear, more than anything else. College Park led for much of the first game, but Alhambra snuck up on them in the least inconspicuous way possible: with a strong hitting display led by Will Jochum. Jochum had 16 kills on the night.
The towering senior middle hitter had seven kills in the first game alone to carry the Dogs, while his teammates struggled to get into gear.
Fellow senior Kyle Magtibay’s first kill of his four total on the night sealed the opening game win.
In the second game, the rest of the team caught up to Jochum and helped see off College Park in a much quicker and dominating fashion.
Nick Lucido reeled off a pair of aces, as well as a kill to aid the cause, while fellow senior Christian Cota filled in nicely for Jochum in the middle with a pair of kills of his own. Jochum added five more kills in the second game, and team captain Jerald Jionorran had four in the second game.
Jochum’s 12th authoritative kill sealed the second game by a much larger margin; Alhambra’s 25-14 win put them in a good place to play substitutes in the final game.
College Park fought their way back into the contest briefly, taking a lead as big as five points at one point in the third game, which caused Alhambra coach Peter Crowley to take a time out and slow everything down for his team.
From the time out, Cota delivered the third of his five kills on the evening.
That sparked a come back from the second Alhambra unit, but it was Jochum’s 16th kill of the night that evened things up at 17-17.
Lucido followed that up with his second kill of the night to give Alhambra back their lead, and they would never let it go.
College Park fell apart after conceding the lead, and ultimately made more errors than Alhambra scored points to give them the three-game sweep win.
With the win the Bulldogs continue their perfect start to the season, which will last them until the start of Diablo Foothill Athletic League play at the end of the month.
The Bulldogs open their season against last year’s division II champions, Campolindo, the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year.