Foothill returns with a sweep of Esperanza


The Foothill boys volleyball team hasn’t spent a lot of time on a court in recent weeks.

Before Tuesday’s Crestview League match against Esperanza, the last time the Knights played a competitive match was March 26.

There were a few practices during their first week off, none last week during spring break and an hour of court time Monday.

To complicate matters, the sixth-ranked Knights returned without setter Nolan To (thumb injury). However, at least for one, the Knights didn’t skip a beat, defeating the host Aztecs, 25-17, 25-14, 25-20.

Foothill, tied at No. 6 in the county rankings, improved to 14-4 overall and 2-0 in league. Esperanza is 11-7 overall and 1-1 in league.

“He (To) is a big part of our offense. He does so much blocking, setting and offensively he does so much dumping (to get kills),” Foothill coach Kelly Caldwell said. “We had to go with a sophomore, Julian Bolanos, who played fantastic. It was very surprising that we came out clicking as well as we did.”

Caldwell said To will likely be out up to six weeks. That leaves the keys of the offense to a pair of sophomores - Bolanos, who had 36 assists against the Aztecs, and Brian Erickson, who was brought up from junior varsity.

“With him (To), I thought we were right there, probably just behind the Huntingtons, Corona del Mar. … We played with Dana (Hills), losing 25-22,” Caldwell said. “I think we’re there, now it is matter of can we get these sophomores to step up their game.

“They’re young guys, and if one is struggling, then maybe his bad day can be someone else’s good day.”

Eric Patton led the Knights with 17 kills. Manny Andrade added eight. Griffin Grimes had 12 digs.

“You saw Eric take over the match, couple of big kills and you saw Griffin, another senior that’s been starting for four years, being scrappy on defense,” Caldwell said.

“Our ball control is going to be the biggest thing. If we can pass the serves and keep us centralized, then Julian can run a nice offense and so can Brian, once he gets used to it.

Garrett Pyatt led the Aztecs with eight kills.

The teams meet again April 30 at Foothill   

In the Academy League:

St. Margaret’s 3, Whitney 2: Blake Williams led the visiting Tartans (8-2, 6-0) with 24 kills and David Chou and Jack McCaffrey added 16 and 13, respectively, in a 25-11, 25-16, 22-25, 22-25, 15-8 victory.

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