LA CRESCENTA — The Crescenta Valley High boys' volleyball team ended up losing Thursday's Pacific League match against Arcadia in five games, but the Falcons accomplished their ultimate goal in four.
Crescenta Valley won the fourth game to force the deciding fifth and clinched a spot in the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs in the process by winning the aggregate games tie-breaker against Arcadia.
Despite Arcadia's 25-23, 22-25, 30-28, 22-25, 15-8 win at CV, the Falcons finished in third place in league and earned an automatic spot into the postseason.
Before the contest, Falcon Coach John Nelson told his team of the tie-breaking scenarios.
CV (9-7, 5-5 in league) defeated Arcadia (15-14, 5-5) in four games in April. A Falcon victory Thursday would have assured CV a playoff spot.
But Nelson also knew that if the Falcons lost in five games, they would still be in the postseason because the second league tiebreaker between two teams after head-to-head victories is the aggregate games won. This season, CV won five games and Arcadia had four.
If the Apaches toppled the Falcons in four games Thursday, they would have forced a tie-breaking contest today.
CV didn't let it happen.
"We really wanted to go to the fifth game," Falcon opposite hitter Connor Smith said. "Our goal was to win it in three, though."
The fourth game featured 19 ties and eight lead changes. CV's Simon Lee broke the final tie — a 22-22 stalemate — with a kill. Two Apache unforced errors later, the Falcons were in the playoffs.
"Any time you play Arcadia, you know it's going to be a battle," Nelson said. "If the match means something, it's going to be more of a battle."
The Falcons were led by a cast of seniors who did not want their season to end. Outside hitter Skyler Shapiro had a team-high 17 kills and three aces, Smith had 16 kills and a pair of blocks, captain Gabriel Can had 22 assists and Eric Wall contributed 19 assists.
Those seniors also know they head into the playoffs with two consecutive losses, including a sweep at the hands of Claremont on Tuesday.
"There are still some things we have to cement," said Nelson, whose team lost to Agoura in four games in last year's opening round. "We played better than we played Tuesday.
"We know we're going to play somebody huge [in the playoffs]. We're going to play somebody like Laguna Beach or Valencia. It's the playoffs, we'll see what we could do."
Smith was supremely confident of the Falcons' chances in the playoffs.
"We're going to make sure we show the next team what we're made of," he said.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun