Camarillo moves closer to clinching league title in boys volleyball

Boys are trying to hit a ball.
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© Joseph A. Garcia/The Star
Camarillo High School's Danny Reilly, left, and teammate Christian Vanouwerkerk, right, hit the ball back to Rio Mesa's Jason As Sue during a Pacific View League match. © Joseph A. Garcia/The Star

Christian Vanouwerkerk exulted after a key block in the third game of a rivalry match.

With the powerful 6-foot-3 outside hitter making timely kills, the Camarillo boys’ volleyball team took a decisive third game Thursday night in a four-game win over visiting Rio Mesa, 25-16, 21-25, 25-23, 25-18. The win moves Camarillo (20-2, 6-0) closer to a Pacific View League title and also set a school record for wins with 20.

Vanouwerkerk made a block to put Camarillo ahead in game three, and followed it with a kill for a 23-21 lead. Rio Mesa evened the score at 23. Camarillo won the last two points when consecutive Rio Mesa shots went wide.

“When it gets down to the last point like that you just got to do what you got to do to finish it,” Vanouwerkerk said.

Camarillo led from the start in game four, and built a seven point lead, 18-11, on a kill from Evan Yoshimoto. Rio Mesa, meanwhile, struggled with unforced errors allowing Camarillo to take control and close out game four, and the match, 25-18.

“It’s just a good battle back and forth,” Camarillo coach Rob Vandermay said. “That’s the way volleyball should be and great cross-town rivals should be and that’s the way it was.”

Rio Mesa (5-9, 3-2) lost Brett McKinney two weeks ago due to undisclosed reasons, and in his absence, coach Jeff Holloway has had to rearrange his lineup. After Camarillo cruised to a 25-16 win in game one, Holloway rotated Andrew Araiza into the middle and the move had an immediate impact. The switch allowed Rio Mesa to better match-up with Camarillo’s 6-foot-6 middle blocker Danny Reilly.

“It made a big difference as far as slowing them down a little bit,” Holloway said.

The Spartans trailed 12-6 midway through game two when they ran off six straight points to knot it at 12. The teams stayed within three points the rest of the game until Rio Mesa, ahead 22-21, reeled off three straight to win it, 25-21.

“They’re a great team,” Vanouwerkerk said of Rio Mesa. “They’ve proven to be a great team in the last few years.”

John Liporada had 29 digs for Rio Mesa. Araiza had 12 blocks and nine kills. Sean Bisnett had 16 kills. Danny Aguilar had 30 assists.

Camarillo now has four matches left to clinch the league title outright.

“Camarillo is really good,” Holloway said. “They don’t have a lot of weaknesses. They’re solid all the way around. I think my guys played about as hard as they could play. I don’t know if we could have asked for much more.”

The balanced Scorpions team received 11 kills from J.T. McGinley, 10 from Vanouwerkerk, seven apiece from Reilly and Yoshimoto, and six from Jesse Flitt. Flitt had 35 assists, while McGinley lofted three service aces over the net.

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