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Liberty Lions beat Bulldog boys in three tense sets

Alhambra sophomore Morgan Wilson goes up high for the kill in the Bulldogs’ 3-0 loss to the Liberty Lions on March 16, 2017. (MARK FIERNER / Martinez Tribune)
Alhambra sophomore Morgan Wilson goes up high for the kill in the Bulldogs’ 3-0 loss to the Liberty Lions on March 16, 2017. (MARK FIERNER / Martinez Tribune)

By GERARDO RECINOS
Martinez Tribune

The Bulldog boys were running a four-game losing streak at the time (it’s now and eight-game losing run) but their most recent 3-0 loss was competitive.

In their loss to the Liberty Lions on Thursday, March 16, the Bulldog boys lost in straight sets, but their losses in the first two sets only came at a point differential of six points, combined.

That’s not something that happened in their first four losses of the streak. Nor did it happen when the Bulldogs met up with the Lions again two days later. Liberty quite easily handled the Bulldogs in that tournament match up.

Alhambra’s struggling at the moment, and we’ve excepted that this season is a rebuilding process from last year’s triumph. But there has been some positives to pull out of the rubble of this season so far.

And one of the positives is the continually improving level of play.

For a few minutes in the opening set, the Bulldogs looked a solid team. Sophomore Morgan Wilson had a pair of kills that put Alhambra up by three points early on. That only started to collapse when senior Fabian Estrada got rolling.

The 6-foot-7 senior had nine kills on the night, but he had help later on in the night from teammate Alex Heaney, who had 14 kills.

Still the Bulldogs continued to expand their lead. At one point they were up five points. Then the Lions pounced.

Estrada had a pair of blocks to spark a 7-0 run, and an ace from Murphy Slay added the exclamation point.

In the second set the two teams played a tight contest, but the Lions still kept the lead. It wasn’t until a run of a pair of aces by Wyatt Hammer that the Bulldogs tied things up. In the final few minutes of the set the two teams exchanged leads five times. Both teams squandered set points, but eventually the Lions finished off their opponents.

n the final set, the Lions were much more calculated in their game, and didn’t slip up. Alhambra’s only lead came at 5-3 in the final set. From that point on the Lions opened up a lead that extended as far six points before closing it out against the Bulldogs by a mark of 25-19.

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