Thousand Oaks boys volleyball sweeps St. Francis, advances to Division 2 semifinals – Daily News

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THOUSAND OAKS — The strength of the Thousand Oaks boys volleyball team starts in the middle. Lengthy vertical reaches and years of training have made the Lancers’ blocking dominant.

“We can block ourselves out of any deficit,” Tyler Linville said. “I don’t think we’d be where we are if we didn’t have the blocking knowledge and IQ that our coach has.”

Thousand Oaks blocked their way to a sweep of St. Francis, 25-18, 26-24, 25-21, in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 quarterfinals Wednesday night.

Thousand Oaks moves on to the semifinals. It will be home Saturday against Servite, which swept Canyon of Anaheim on Wednesday night.

Middle blockers threw the Golden Knights off balance and scored points for the Lancers, with Ben Greenberg pacing the team with six solo blocks, followed by Linville with three and Alex Torreblanca with two. Greenberg had 148 total blocks this season heading into Wednesday’s match.

“Blocking is a very tough skill, even if you teach the right things,” said Thousand Oaks coach Seth Burnham, who played middle blocker at UCLA and professionally overseas. “These guys have just heard it and they’ve been able to translate it into results and it’s really fun.”

The Lancers (27-9) rolled out to an early advantage in the first game, but St. Francis (25-10-1) was able to tie it at 14-all. A kill and an ace from Linville put Thousand Oaks ahead by three points and the Lancers maintained the lead.

The Golden Knights pushed ahead in the second game, taking a 24-22 lead to set up the game point. However, Thousand Oaks went on a four-point scoring run and wrapped up the game with a kill from Oliver Herron.

“I think the guys, once they get away from tonight, will go hey, it was a good season,” St. Francis coach Mark Frazee said. “I don’t have any regrets, and I don’t think the kids will either.”

In the third game, a block by Herron finished off a five-point scoring run and put Thousand Oaks up 11-4. The Golden Knights tied it at 18-18 with a late rally, but the Lancers maintained their momentum.

Torreblanca set Linville, who threw down the match-winning kill.

“I wanted nothing but to put a little spice on the end,” Linville said.


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