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Boys Volleyball

Energized Bishop Diego Takes Out Alhambra in Playoff Opener

Austin Bohnett of Bishop Diego is fired up after putting away a kill during the Cardinals’ four-set playoff victory over Alhambra. Click to view larger
Austin Bohnett of Bishop Diego is fired up after putting away a kill during the Cardinals’ four-set playoff victory over Alhambra. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Bishop Diego’s boys volleyball team was bursting with energy in its CIF-Southern Section Division 3 opener on Tuesday night.

The Cardinals were on fire from the start, cooled a bit in the second set and then finished off visiting Alhambra with some crowd-pleasing explosiveness to advance to a second-round matchup with top-seeded Cypress on Thursday.

John Harris soars above an Alhambra blocker for one of his game-high 20 kills. Click to view larger
John Harris soars above an Alhambra blocker for one of his game-high 20 kills. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

John Harris led a balanced attack with 20 kills and setter Brolin Parris spread the ball around to collect 43 assists in a 25-9, 25-18, 25-17, 25-10 victory at the Brick House.

There was a sequence in the fourth set that characterized how explosive the Cardinals (18-0) were in their playoff opener. Austin Bonnet dug a driven ball right to Parris and he fed Harris who took a full swing and hammered the ball to the floor.

“Those plays are the most important ones,”  Bohnett said. “Those can shift a game.”

Harris had several kills where he thundered balls over or between the blockers.

There was no stopping Bishop Diego after it suffered its first set loss in weeks. The team had won 52 straight sets before Alhambra evened the match at 1-1.

“In playoffs, anything can happen,” said Bohnett, who got blocked a couple of times by Alhambra at the end of the second set.  “I was thinking about (the loss), but it really didn’t matter because I knew we were going to come back and win the next two.”

Bohnett led the charge in the third set. He hammered a Parris set off the block for a 10-6 lead and put away two more kills during a 3-0 run for a 13-7 advantage. He finished second on the team in kills with 13.

“I just kept doing what I’ve been taught all season,” he said. “I'm a line hitter and I was still hitting line and their hands just happened to be in good places. (In the third set) I just tooled them a lot and just played my game and ended up coming through.”

Bohnett exemplifies the fire and energy the Cardinals bring to the court.

“Tonight especially,” he said

Coach Brett McGarry said he “was the most nervous one of the bunch” after Bishop dropped the second set, but he was pleased how the team responded.

“They rolled with it. The end of that second game I wish we had played a little better, hit the adversity and really try to battle back.  But we came out for that third game firing and just rolled from there. It’s really a testament to the guys, their will and their chemistry,  the way they work together. That only happens with good teams. Bad teams roll over. Good teams are the ones who can stay with it.”

Parris makes sure the Cardinals stay with it. He keeps his hitters happy and contributes at the net with his ability to block.

“We got a lot of guys this year,” the junior setter said. “We’ve been on same team for three years now and we’re the best we’ve ever been.”

Asked about his blocking, Parris said: “Tonight, I blocked pretty well. When the pressure is on, something comes over me and I play way better than usual.”

He did a good job of getting middles Luke Klentner and Mike Agnoli involved. They combined for 13 kills, led by Klentner’s seven.

“He’s developed as a player,” McGarry said of Parris. “It’s a testament to him and his hard work and the hard work he puts in during the off season to how good he got. He was dishing all over the court tonight  he’s running all over it and got a couple of blocks too, which is fun.”

His play at the net and the blocking of Agnoli and Klentner helped neutralize Alhambra’s best hitters Peter Huang and Paling Sett in the third and fourth sets.

“Alhambra was a good team,” McGarry said. “They had some weapons. They played really good defense and made us play.  They gave us a test today.”

Austin Bohnett hits over the Alhambra block. He finished with 13 kills on the night. Click to view larger
Austin Bohnett hits over the Alhambra block. He finished with 13 kills on the night. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

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