Mustangs fend off Tigers

West Valley’s boys volleyball team defeat Tigers at SJ, 3-0

Photo by Corey Evan/The Valley Chronicle
Tiger Cameron Perez tries to serve up trouble for the Mustangs. San Jacinto were beaten by West Valley 3-0 on March 2.

■ By Corey Evan / Reporter

Regardless of what kind of day you’re having, every game day is a great day for somebody. Tuesday, March 20 saw a great day of volleyball between the San Jacinto Tigers and the visiting West Valley Mustangs.
During set one, both teams were neck-and-neck in the early stages before the Mustangs gained the upper hoof and ran with it. West Valley took this one home 25-16.
The Mustangs kept up their energy going into the second set, taking the lead early and putting pressure on San Jacinto. The Tigers hung in there, giving chase and even taking over the lead briefly. But the Mustangs eventually recovered the lead and took the set, 25-17.
Lead changes abounded in the third set, as the two teams kept the game interesting all the way to matchpoint. In the end, the Mustangs clenched victory by a narrow margin, 25-23 to shutout San Jacinto 3-nil.
Coach Steve Ray says his Tigers’ loss today was due to their motivation.
“It wasn’t good; We didn’t play like we were supposed to play,” said Ray. “We didn’t play like the team that played Yucaipa in the [Hemet] tournament. They’ve got to want to win.”
On the Mustangs’ side, Coach Shaun Pulsipher couldn’t have been happier. “My team did exactly what I needed them to do today,” said Pulsipher. “They passed the ball extremely well, which then allowed Alejandro [our setter] to get the ball to our hitters at exactly the right moments. My guys also kept their composure when SJ tied the third set at 23-23. We had the energy and excitement with opening league today, and my guys showed up and played great.”
Despite the on-court rivalry, the coaches’ relationship is all good. “Coach Steve Ray is a very admirable person and an all around great guy,” continued Pulsipher. “I have gotten to know him throughout the past seasons and at the end of the day, win or lose, we always have a mutual respect for one another and a great friendship.”
After losing to West Valley, the Tigers did better against Hemet and Tahquitz, beating each 3-1 the past two Thursdays. The Tigers will spend this week practicing for their April 10 match against the Beaumont Cougars. Ray says his team has to work on “wanting it” to win it.
The Mustangs took on Beaumont and Hemet last Tuesday and Thursday respectively, beating the Cougars 3-2 while losing to the Bulldogs 3-2. Next on their list are the Tahquitz Titans on April 10. Go on out and support your valley teams!

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