'Hammer' does his thing in Garden Grove victory


GARDEN GROVE - Garden Grove boys volleyball coach Frankie Perales could see that his players were tired. After winning their first two sets of their CIF-SS Division 4 second round match against Katella, the Argonauts lacked energy during a third-set loss.

To get his players to pick up the pace, Perales decided to do what had worked for him all season long: Give the ball to 'The Hammer.'

Arturo Alday plays fantastic every single game,” Perales said. “He’s been our kill leader all year, and that’s why we call him 'The Hammer.' When we’re in trouble, we dish it to him and let him do his thing.”

Alday had 24 kills in the match as the Argonauts defeated the Knights, 25-21, 25-17, 19-25, 25-15, on Thursday night at Garden Grove High.

Alday teamed with Clayton Stowers and Fitu Lupematasila to form an imposing front line that wreaked havoc on the Knights’ hitters. All three stand 6-feet or taller, and they combined for 25 blocks on the night.

“They give us a lot of height,” Perales said. “It allows us to put up a big wall. If it gets through our wall, our defensive players are there to pick them up.”

Garden Grove (19-6) setter Eric Thai had 34 assists and also was a part of the front wall that consistently disrupted Katella’s hitting attempts.

Robert Cabrales led Kattela (18-8) with 14 kills. Rafael Rodriguez notched 29 assists.

The win puts the Argonauts in the quarterfinals for the third consecutive year. Garden Grove played the past two seasons in Division 5 and lost in the finals last season.

The Argonauts will play St. Margaret’s on Saturday.

After moving up a division, Perales believes his team has the talent and experience to make another deep postseason run.

“We’re peaking at the right time,” Perales said. “We’re playing some good volleyball. We’re meshing together and playing with a lot of teamwork, and that’s what’s important.”

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