Buchanan rallies for Central Section volleyball crown
Nothing that went wrong would matter for Buchanan High’s boys volleyball team Friday night in its gym.
And it began even before the first serve of the Bears’ stirring 3-2 win over Clovis West for the Central Section championship.
First, a CD malfunction for the national anthem left a near-capacity crowd of about 2,500 standing and in silence.
No problem: Buchanan senior player Aaron Vallejo, bowing to considerable requests from fans and teammates clearly aware of his singing ability, stepped forward, grabbed the microphone and belted out a professional rendition — a cappella, no less.
Second, the Bears, who had beaten their Tri-River Athletic Conference rival in two five-set matches this season, fell behind 2-0.
And, finally, The Franchise — senior setter and Bee 2011 Player of the Year Jon Ferrari — collapsed with an injured right ankle in the fourth set and his team leading 19-14.
“I really think Jon being hurt actually helped us,” Buchanan coach John Jay said without sarcasm.
With Ferrari on the sideline, green/gray shoe removed and getting his ankle taped by a team trainer, the Golden Eagles quickly scored twice to reduce the margin to 19-16.
Then Ferrari returned to a roar, and the rest was made for Hollywood.
He had an assist and a standing serve (jump serve no option) for the final two points of a 25-21 fourth-set win.
Then, clearly restricted and hobbled, he was somehow phenomenal as the Bears (36-5) bolted to a 5-1 lead in the fifth and final set while coasting 15-6 for a second-consecutive championship win over Clovis West.
“Everything had to be off my left foot,” Ferrari said, “but, I don’t know, I made it work.”
He finished the 2-hour, 10-minute thriller with 52 assists, 15 digs and eight kills.
“I think Jon getting hurt made us focus a little more, play a little harder and play a bit smarter,” Jay said.
Buchanan senior Tim Moses — another key returner from a 39-3 2011 team that finished second-ranked nationally — elevated and struck the ball like nobody else while contributing 19 kills.
The deep Bears also received 14 kills from Ben Harding, 10 from Tyler Etiz and 12 digs from sophomore libero Aaron Samarin.
Clovis West four-year veteran Brett Salomonson, the most dominant player on the floor for much of the night, delivered 16 kills for the Eagles (35-7).
SECTION SUPER SATURDAY
It’s a busy day for high school athletes today as three sports will crown Central Section champions. Check out Sunday’s Bee for complete coverage.
By Andy Boogaard