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Vista wins back-to-back section titles

Recovers after a 6-12 start on the season to win it all
By: Brett Ransford/Telegraph Correspondent
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The Vista del Lago boys? volleyball team proved how hard it is to keep a champion down, repeating as Sac-Joaquin Section Division II champions on Thursday with a three-game sweep over the Whitney Wildcats at Monterey Trail High School. Vista?s journey to the 2012 Division II championship took a familiar path, losing only one game in three matches and sweeping the title match for the second year in a row. Whitney, the Capital Athletic League No.1 seed, fell 25-23, 25-20 and 30-28 in the Eagles? final come-from-behind push. It wouldn?t be fair to say Vista worked out of trouble in each game, but they were behind for moments in all three and relied on their heavy hitters and serving to pull it out. Whitney?s competitive play was ruined by a tall and skinny familiar figure, a figure which slammed down the final point of the season and his high school career. ?It was perfect,? said senior captain Sam Mills, about his exit style from high school volleyball. ?Winnings sections, it?s a great way to end the year. I?m sad I?m leaving, but I know they?re going to have a great team next year and it?s been an honor to play for all of them.? Mills? size and skill will be missed next season. He banged 11 kills against Whitney, second only behind junior Griffin Galvin, who had 15. With Mills and Galvin, Austin Zurbuchen and Connor Tevenan were the only returning players from Vista?s first section championship team. That team had eight players when they won and returned four. Next year?s squad could return six of its 10 from this season. Their night started out slow, falling behind Whitney 20-15 in the first game. Mills had four kills in Vista?s last 10 points. The game?s only lead change was at 23-22 and the match kept on in that fashion. Galvin had three kills in the final 10 points of the first game and another seven in the third. His voice was pretty much gone after the match ? yelling constantly on the court ? but Galvin said the championship game was much like the rest of the season. ?In the beginning of the year and preseason we lost like every game, so it kind of discouraged us, but once league started it seemed like we got that confidence back,? Galvin said. Vista ended the year with a strong finish, winning their final 11 matches following a loss to Ponderosa on April 10. The team posted a 21-13 overall record, but at one point were 6-12 before winning 15 of their final 16 matches. It seemed like the Eagles kick it into gear exactly when they need to. Whitney had swept Vista 3-0 in the preseason without star sophomore hitter David Parker, who easily led the Wildcats? kill numbers on Thursday. The same comeback style in three games has been a theme of poise and control for the Eagles ? their only two playoff appearances resulted in section banners now hanging on their gymnasium wall. Tevenan and Patrick Reinking joined Mills in stepping up their blocking game in the second game. The focus on serving also kept Whitney relatively under control at the net. Reinking had aces in all three games. Tevenan finished with eight kills. The longest rally of the night was capped by a Galvin kill to tie it 25-25 in the third game. From there, Vista coach Wayne Campbell endured three ties and two lead changes before his bench rushed the court in victory. ?That?s probably our best match of the year, because they swept us earlier in the year. We had only practiced two or three times, so we figured they would be better, but we obviously improved quite a bit,? Campbell said. ?We blocked a lot of balls and we served them tough, while I thought they served us easy. Defense and strong serving I think was the key. We lose Sam, but at the same time, Patrick [Reinking] is a freshman, Mitch [May] is getting better, so next year we?ll have everybody back except Sam in our starting lineup.? Campbell has two section championships in as many years as Vista?s coach. Jorge Rodriguez and Mills will graduate from Vista this spring. Mills said when he can make it back from Long Beach State he hopes to see Vista with a chance at a three-peat.