The Hillsdale boys’ volleyball season is only two matches old, so while they Knights are not quite fully formed, they are certainly off to a nice start.

After opening the season with a three-set sweep of Peninsula Athletic League power Menlo-Atherton Tuesday, the Knights came back with a sweep of visiting Balboa-San Francisco, 25-21, 25-22, 25-15.

“The boys are starting to get their chemistry together,” said Hillsdale head coach Dwight Krump. “I knew nothing about [Balboa], only that they beat Aragon.

“I didn’t tell the boys that.”

Krump expects Aragon, along with Carlmont, to be among the teams to beat in PAL play this season. But he thinks his Knights’ squad might factor into the title race as well.

Given their performance to start the season, Hillsdale certainly won’t be sneaking up on anybody.

Hillsdale boys volleyball

Hillsdale’s opposite hitter Noah MacLean hammers home one of his six kills.

And given their talent, the Knights will certainly be announcing their presence this season. Led by a trio of sophomores — opposite hitter Noah MacLean, outside hitter Zach Martella and setter Roberto Sapienza — the Knights appear to have the firepower to compete with anybody in the PAL.

“They’re big, dynamic hitters,” Krump said. “Noah is probably the best opposite I’ve ever seen play. He’s going to find a way to put the ball in play.”

While Martella led the attack Wednesday against Balboa, finishing with nine kills, the Knights showed it is more than just a couple of hitters. MacLean and Josue Amaro each finished with six kills, while Jack Vallee had three kills.

Sapienza guided the offense, finishing with 45 of the team’s 49 assists.

After cruising to a surprising, dominant sweep of M-A, Hillsdale had to work a little harder to dispatch the Buccaneers Wednesday evening. Despite not having nearly the offensive options, Balboa did a good job of digging up Hillsdale attacks and doing just enough offensively to keep the match close.

With Hillsdale leading 16-11 midway through the first set, Balboa went on a 3-0 run on three straight Hillsdale hitting errors to close to 16-14.

A Martella kill and another point off a tip sparked a 4-1 Knights response. Three Buccaneer hitting errors in a row gave Hillsdale a 23-17 lead, but Balboa did not go meekly. The Buccaneers won four of the next five points to close to 24-21, but a MacLean roof on game point gave the Knights the set.

In Game 2, Balboa took advantage of some shaky Hillsdale play, jumping out to an 8-3 lead following six straight hitting or setting errors by the Knights.

Hillsdale, however, got back in the match and eventually evened the game at 13-all. From there, the game went back and forth. A pair of blocks for points from Jack Vanos gave Hillsdale a 15-13 lead and Amaro notched a kill off a touch. When Martella recorded a kill off the Balboa block, the Knights’ led 20-16.

Again, Balboa did not go quietly. The Buccaneers won five of the next seven points to tie the game at 21.

But Vallee used a cross-court tip to give Hillsdale a 22-21 advantage as the Knights went on to close out a 25-22 result in game two.

In what turned out to be the final set, Hillsdale put it all together. The Knights stopped committing as many errors as they did in the first two sets and the Buccaneers struggled to keep up with the Knights’ potent offense.

With Hillsdale leading 11-6, the Knights won seven straight points for an 18-6 advantage, with Aaron Jue-Sans capping the run with a service ace.

Balboa finally got untracked, but Hillsdale kept the Buccaneers at bay. A Sapienza quick kill gave the Knights a 23-13 lead and Ian Nepomuceno’s block at the net gave the Knights the victory, 25-15.

The win over Balboa followed Hillsdale’s first-ever victory over M-A in the season opener Tuesday and it wasn’t really close as the Knights posted a 25-15, 25-16, 25-14 victory. Martella paced the attack, finishing with 11 kills, misfiring on just two of his attacks. Vallee added nine kills and MacLean finished with eight.

The Knights did most of their damage against the Bears at the service line as Vallee led an ace assault, recording five of the team’s 16 service aces. Jue-Sans added four.

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