GARDEN GROVE – The Garden Grove boys volleyball team struggled on the big stage of the CIF-Southern Section Finals on Saturday.
Things turned around for the Argonauts on Tuesday night. Back on their campus, they defeated Kennedy of Granada Hills 25-23, 25-15, 18-25, 25-11 in the first round of the CIF Southern California Division III Regionals.
The Argonauts were paced by Brandon Nguyen, who had a team-high 16 kills, and Peselao Gauta, who finished with 11 kills.
Garden Grove (19-10), coming off being swept by Diamond Ranch in the CIF-SS Division 5 final, got off to a sluggish start and quickly was down 7-0 in the opening set. The Argonauts trailed by as many as eight points before they began to chip away at their deficit.
Garden Grove coach Frankie Perales was impressed by his team’s ability to shake off its first-set woes and beat a team that won back-to-back L.A,. City section championships.
“We were able to fight back (from trailing 9-1) and we were telling them we gotta get one point at a time,” Perales said. “Once we regrouped, we just caught fire on every single point.”
The Argonauts found a way to neutralize the the Golden Cougars’ attack, led by Marvin Giron and Christopher Chao, with their duo of Nguyen and Gauta. They tied the first set at 21-21 before taking it 25-23.
It was all Garden Grove after that, as they took the second set from the Golden Cougars (21-18) with ease.
Kennedy coach John Maluyo credited the Argonauts middles with the turnaround in the first set.
“They’re quick and rebounded quickly,” Maluyo said. “We really weren’t prepared for that type of action.”
Garden Grove will travel to Murrieta Valley on Thursday for a Division III regional semifinal at 7 p.m.
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