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Deloney leads Eagles over Raiders in four

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Daniel Deloney knew he and his Vista volleyball teammates were going to defeat Rio Americano Thursday night because it was a match they couldn’t lose.

Deloney transferred from Rio Americano to Vista del Lago for his senior year and losing to his former teammates wasn’t an option to him. Behind his 26 kills, 11 digs and 4 blocks, Deloney and the Eagles defeated Rio Americano 25-21, 21-25, 25-22 and 25-16 to advance to Tuesday Division II semifinals, where they will play host to Bear River.

“It would have been embarrassing to lose against my old friends and teammates,” Deloney said. “It was a lot of fun. Both teams played well, I thought.”

Vista coach Wayne Campbell knew Deloney was ready to play the minute he walked into the gym.

“He was the first one here at 6 p.m. and he was intense the minute he walked into the gym,” Campbell said. “He was unreal tonight and he got the rest of the team pumped up. He had a bit extra and it was one of his better performances. He served tough and he gets up so high on his hits that he was just hitting over their block … with a lot of power.”

The Eagles took the first game rather easily, despite the 25-21 score. Vista led 20-14 and later 23-18 before the Raiders made it close at the end.

Rio answered in game two, turning an 8-5 deficit into a 22-15 lead with inspired play that had the Eagles off guard. The Eagles cut the lead to three points late, but the deficit proved to be too big to overcome and they lost 25-21.

Rio kept the momentum early on in the game four, leading 9-7, but Vista stayed strong and played tough. As the game neared the end, Vista picked up its play. With the game tied at 17, Connor Tevenan gave the team the lead for good with one of his five kills. Rio failed to get the ball over on the next point and then the Eagles withstood two big kill attempts on consecutive digs by Patrick Reinking and Griffin Galvin to win the point and open up a 20-17 lead.

Rio got as close as one point on two occasions late in the match, but the Eagles won the last two points to take the game, 25-22.

Despite falling behind 2-0 to start game four, the Eagles saved their best for last, as did Deloney. Vista held a narrow 13-12 lead midway through the match, but behind Deloney, won six of the next seven points to take a 19-13 lead. Deloney started the rally with a pair of kills and followed with a block, along with some help from Reinking, and Vista led 16-12. He added another kill in between a pair of unforced Rio errors, as Mitch May served solidly, earning five straight points for the Eagles.

Leading 19-12, the Eagles had the game in the bag, as the air was out of Rio’s sail, and Vista went on to win the game and the match, 25-16.

Campbell said before the game that serving and passing would be the key to his team’s success. As it turned out, he felt that his pre-game statement held true.

“In the game we lost, we missed a lot of serves,” Campbell said. “In the last game, we didn’t miss any. Griffin was just getting his serves over, but they were misplaying them. Another thing was Mitch served great. He was key in that third game when he served like eight in a row. As for our passing, when we made the good pass, we usually got a good swing at the ball.”

Deloney added, “Our intensity was key. We were excited after winning points. We also served well.”