Top-seeded Chatsworth edges Narbonne 3-1 in the CIF Volleyball Playoffs

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The Chatsworth Chancellors had earned the top seed of the CIF L.A. City Section Open Division Volleyball Playoffs after winning an astounding 20 of their last 21 games to finish with a 37-8 record on the season. Ranked in the top 50 in California and top 100 nationally, the Chancellors were looking to show themselves worthy of their ranking as they hosted the eighth-seeded Narbonne Gauchos in the first round of the playoffs on May 3rd, 2023. The Gauchos had won five of their last six games, carrying momentum heading into the playoffs and were playing with house money. In a highly contested matchup with both teams competing very hard, the Chancellors were able to win the match 3-1, with the contest more competitive than the final set score. The Gauchos proved themselves to be a worthy opponent and kept each set close, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Chancellors.

The two teams were tied 3-3 in the beginning of the first set, when Chatsworth pulled ahead 11-5 taking early control of the contest. Narbonne tried to keep it close and trimmed the Chancellors’ lead to 13-11, but Chatsworth did not relinquish their lead again for the remainder of the set. The Chancellors’ offensive attack led the charge to help them to win the first set 25-19. Not rattled by the early deficit, the Gauchos were able to take an early 6-4 lead in the second set. The two teams continued to battle, as the Gauchos’ lead never extended past two points at any point in the set.

The score was tied at 15 in the second set, when the Chancellors began to pull away from the Gauchos. They were able to capitalize off of mistakes made by Narbonne to pull ahead to win the set 25-21. With their season hanging in the balance, Narbonne once again pulled ahead to an early 4-2 lead in the third set. Chatsworth was able to regain the lead by scoring the next four points to pull ahead to a 6-4 lead. The score was brought to a 7-7 tie, when the Gauchos regained the lead. This time around, they were able to maintain their lead as they were able to build upon the league to win the third set 25-19.

Already having regained the momentum from winning their last set, Narbonne carried the momentum to take a 5-2 lead at the start of the fourth set. Chatsworth battled back to tie the game twice before taking a slim 8-7 lead. After both teams fought through four more ties, the Chancellors were able to pull ahead to a 18-14 lead. The resilient Gauchos did not quit, as they made a late run to take back the lead, bringing the score to 21-20. The highly competitive matchup was hanging in the balance when the score was brought to a 24-24 tie. The Chancellors regrouped to score the final two points to win the fourth and final set 26-24 to win the match 3-1.

Chatsworth head coach Sina Aghassy credits his coaches and his players’ experience for their preparation for the playoffs as he was away from the team this week for the birth of his daughter, “I gotta give it up to my coaches, who held down the fort until I got back today.” He stated “It’s just trusting your seniors, trusting your leaders. They’ve been here before in the sense that this isn’t their first playoff”. Coach Aghassy prepared his team for having to find different ways to win these tough playoff games. He said, “It’s playoff volleyball. You’ve got to win ugly. You’ve got to win when you’re playing well. We do a lot of situational stuff in practice where we’re down and we’ve gotta come back. I think it showed on the court, when we came back and put it all together”. Chatsworth will face a familiar opponent in the Semifinals next Tuesday, May 9 when they take on West Valley League rival El Camino Real.

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