Flavio Mercado blasted three kills down the stretch of a must-win fourth game Wednesday and hammered home the final kill in the deciding fifth set to thrust East Union into first place in the Valley Oak League with one game remaining, coming back to edge Weston Ranch 21-25, 25-17, 22-25, 25-19, 15-10 at Dalben Center.
“Our setter (Parmbir Khattra) trusted me to get those shots down,” Mercado said. “And this feels amazing.”
Mercado had 18 kills and six blocks with three kills in the fifth set. Austin Scott added 13 kills, five digs, three aces and two blocks for the Lancers (6-1 VOL, 10-3 overall), getting three kills in the fifth set as well.
“My team just sets me up,” Scott said. “Whatever my team gives me I do the best I can with it.”
Khattra was all over the court for East Union, getting 35 assists, nine kills and 10 digs.
“I was ready to come and play hard,” Khattra said. “We practiced hard on Tuesday and we were ready for this game.
“It was a big game and we got a little payback.”
The Lancers win avenged a 3-1 loss to the Cougars (5-1, 11-3) earlier this season and gives East Union a half a game lead with one left for East Union and two for Weston Ranch.
“We needed to win this,” East Union coach Chelsea Herrera said. “Neither team was ready to give up and both teams played their hearts out.
“The Weston Ranch defense was phenomenal and we were just able to find bigger holes than they did.”
Alec Alegre chipped in eight blocks, seven kills, three digs and an ace for the Lancers.
After winning the first set 25-21, the Cougars stumbled out of the gate in the second and fell behind 18-9, keeping pace with the Lancers the rest of the set but not closing the gap, losing 25-17.
“We came out and we fought,” Weston Ranch coach Debi Chavez said. “But we had a bad second game and we should have played better in that game and it should have been over earlier.
“That was on us. We made like 16 mistakes and gave them half the game and you can’t do that against a good team like East Union. We know better.”
Armando Mendoza paced the Cougars with eight kills and four blocks. Josh Lee added six kills, a block and an ace with Raul Melgarejo getting four blocks and two kills and Mailo Bayot netting 26 assists with three aces and a kill.
East Union 2, Weston Ranch 0
Marco Galvan tallied six kills and an ace to lead the Lancers to a 25-19, 25-20 win.
Gavin Silva chipped in five blocks, three kills and an ace for East Union followed by Bryan Rodriguez (four kills, block), Jyrus Faustilla (four aces), Andrew Rice (two kills, block) Moises Gonzalez (two kills), Javier Ornellas (kill, two aces), Jaime Ornellas (kill, ace) and Pierce Kemetner (ace).