Clovis News: Sports

Peterson powers Eagles volleyball

The first things you see with Kyle Peterson are the boyish haircut, rosy cheeks, smile and slight body that just has to be harmless, right?

Then they blow the whistle, start the volleyball match and explosions begin for the Clovis West High senior.

It starts with a 33-inch vertical jump.

It continues with balance, positioning and anticipation.

And it ends with a right-handed swing that could slice an oak.

"He's very dynamic and definitely the one who makes it happen for us," coach Bob McCarthy said after his Golden Eagles -- ranked 20th nationally by ESPNRise.com's FAB50 poll -- rode Peterson's 15 kills to a 3-0 home-court sweep of Buchanan in the Tri-River Athletic Conference before a large crowd Tuesday night.

There is much to complement Peterson on a 29-1 team that's powerful up front with Jacob Schmidt, Corey Mills, Brett Salomonson and Jeff Morris, dependable at libero with Jordan Lee and skilled at setter with Chris Wong.

But the most compelling story in Central Section boys volleyball -- virtually all of which is played in Fresno County -- can be found in that deceptive, 6-foot, 155-pound body of Peterson.

This is the kid who so fell in love with the sport as a 10-year-old, he'd crawl on the roof of his family's home and pound the A-frame with volleyballs by himself.

"It gave me the ball back; sort of like an opponent," he says now.

But this is also the kid who had his heart torn 17 months ago when he tore an ACL while playing a club match in Anaheim.

The injury, subsequent surgery and six months of rehabilitation removed him from his entire junior season.

"When the doctor told me, I was so devastated I couldn't think," he said following Tuesday's match, when the Eagles swept Buchanan -- generally considered the section's second-best team -- for the fourth time this season.

"I sat there not knowing what I was going to do. When you get that kind of information, you don't know where you're going to go from there. It was an emotional moment."

Never, however, did he doubt he would play as a senior: "No, I had it in my mind to be back. Nothing was going to stop me playing my senior year."

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