San Benito volleyball rallies from two games down to beat TCAL
leader Gilroy for second time this season
Gilroy – After San Benito outside hitter Jon Crepeau pounded a hit off a Gilroy block and to the floor on the Mustangs’ side for the point that won the ‘Balers Game 3, the senior clenched his fists and let out a yell.

From there, the two-game lead Gilroy had taken quickly and early on its own floor Tuesday night didn’t seem so insurmountable.

And it wasn’t.

With a Tri-County Athletic League championship and hope of a postseason hanging in the balance, the San Benito boys’ volleyball team overcame losing the match’s first two games to win the final three and beat the Mustangs for the second time this season, 9-25, 18-25, 25-21, 25-22, 15-8.

“During the huddles, we kept talking about how we wanted to put another ’06 in the (championship) banner,” said Crepeau, whose 21 kills led San Benito. “We want to go to CCS and get the title.”

Also coming up big in the win were outside hitter Luis Rosales (8 kills), libero Chris Flippo (17 digs), and middle hitters Josh Brown (4 kills, 4 blocks) and Anthony Parcell (4 kills).

After a disappointing loss to Palma Monday that knocked them down to second place, the ‘Balers (13-10, 10-2 TCAL) needed a win against the Mustangs (22-9, 11-2 TCAL) to keep the championship hope alive. But it seemed the Palma loss wasn’t enough. The ‘Balers needed to dig themselves into a 2-0 hole Tuesday to finally get in gear for the win.

“If you put this group under pressure, they just excel,” said San Benito head coach Luis Espinoza. “I wish all our games were under pressure.”

After dominating the fifth and deciding game, the ‘Balers celebrated with one another and the small, but spirited group of fans that had made the trip from Hollister. The scene was very different from how the night had started.

In the first two games, it looked like Gilroy was going to run away with the match in dominant fashion. The Mustangs sprinted to an 18-8 lead in the first game to win easily 25-9 and kept a steady lead in the second to win 25-18. Game 3 looked like it would just be a formality.

“We just came out hitting and digging,” said Gilroy head coach Craig Martin. “We should have finished it off in Game 3.”

But the ‘Balers took the pressure of having to win three straight sets and used it to their advantage . A hitting error and a lift called on Gilroy late in the third game extended San Benito’s lead from 22-20 to 24-20. After Gilroy outside hitter Vinny DeLorenzo (20 kills) got a kill, Crepeau answered with his big game-ending kill to force Game 4.

In Game 4, the Mustangs took an 8-4 lead and extended it to 11-4 after Mustang middle hitter Ryan Chisolm served three consecutive aces. But the ‘Balers battled back to tie the game at 12. The score would be tied five more times until Crepeau blasted a kill to give the ‘Balers the lead for good at 22-21. The senior put down three more kills to give San Benito the 25-22 win.

In the fifth game, Gilroy could not break San Benito’s momentum to come up with key points.

“It seemed like at critical points, we’d lose,” said Chisolm of the Mustangs’ breakdown, which slowly took the air out of a quick start. “We found out this morning that they had lost to Palma (Monday) and we came out smoking.”

On the other side, the 5-foot-7 Rosales didn’t let Gilroy’s height deter him. The outside hitter put four kills down for the ‘Balers in the fifth game to convincingly close out the match.

“If they block, I have to hit over them and to the corners,” Rosales said. “Overall, we had better passing so our intensity came up high and exploded…It was a great game and put us on top where we should be.”

Both the ‘Balers and the Mustangs have Monterey, another tough TCAL team with two losses, left on their schedules. San Benito needs to beat the Toreadors on Homecoming next Tuesday and have Monterey beat Gilroy in the Mustangs’ final match of the season to come away with sole ownership of the league championship and an automatic bid into CCS.

San Benito travels to Alisal Thursday for a 6:30pm match.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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