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Vista Murrieta boys volleyball can’t hold leads, falls to top seed in semis

By in Press Enterprise on May 18, 2017

By Bill Norris

MURRIETA — Vista Murrieta boys volleyball coach Kristen Cooke knew her team would have its hands full with Cypress on Wednesday night.

And despite opening leads in the first two games, she was right.

The Centurions swept through the Broncos in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 semifinals 25-14, 25-17, 25-20, ending Vista Murrieta’s best season in school history.

Vista Murrieta (25-8) opened up a 7-4, first-set lead, then a 7-2 second-set advantage before Cypress (16-3) took advantage of some sloppy play to turn the tide on the Broncos.

“We had trouble on serve-receive,” Cooke said. “They served us awfully close. They were jump servers and I watched them on video and I knew that could be an issue for us. And we needed to go through the middle and we just couldn’t.”

Part of that trouble for the Broncos was trying to counter against the Centurions’ Erik Papke. He had nine kills in the first game, and ended with 17 on the night.

“We flipped our rotation so my little setter wouldn’t end up with him, and that worked,” Cooke said. “But he’s a good player, and we knew it was going to be him coming in.”

Cypress didn’t waste any time in the third set. Chris Cons served the Centurions out to a 6-0 lead, as the Broncos were whistled for two violations, and had troubles getting the ball in bounds. Cypress coach Alex Griffiths made it clear to her team in between sets not to let up.

“We were making sure that we weren’t playing too casual or comfortable,” she said. “We still had to go out and earn every point.”

For the Broncos, it was a bittersweet way to end only their third season as a program. Cooke is proud of how far the team has come.

“We had a fantastic season,” she said. “Our program […]    

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