Volleyball: Varsity girls lose 0-3 against last year’s state champs Palo Alto


Photo by: Kevin Tsukii

Megan Jones

Across the net were last years’ state champions, Palo Alto High School, warming up with vigor and speed. However, the varsity girls volleyball team did not let that mindset affect them as they continued to warm up with precise focus and energy. Despite this pre-game intensity, the girls could not catch a lead in any of their matches, and ultimately lost 0-3 (18-25, 14-25, 16-25) on Oct. 26 against Palo Alto High School.

Senior Stephanie Zhang jumps to tip the ball over the net against Palo Alto on Oct. 26. However, the Matadors were unable to match the intensity of the former state champions and lost the game 0-3 against Paly. Photo by Margaret Lin.

“[We had] some really good plays, but it was not our level of play,” freshman Maria Balus said. “[We] played without really caring. [We should have] played to our actual level.”

Just moments into the first set, Palo Alto scored the first point of the game, and from there, the Matadors were unable catch up to the Vikings. With the score at 6-12, head coach Colin Anderson called for timeout in hopes of having the team regroup. MVHS rallied back, starting with a spike by Balus, landing the team with a 11-18 score. The Matadors gained three more points from sophomore Beverly Yu and senior Savannah Day, pulling within five points of the Vikings at 14-19. However, the Matadors ultimately did not succeed in defeating Palo Alto’s strong defense and lost their first match 18-25.

The second set started off slow for the Matadors, allowing the Vikings to go up 3-6. However, the Lady Mats once again rallied back, with points by Day and Yu . With the pressure from these continuous points, the Vikings made both serving and hitting violations, and allowed the Mats to catch up with a 7-8 score. With their lead erased, the Vikings called for a time-out due to the sudden pressure from the Lady Mats.

Soon after the time-out, the Vikings kicked it up a notch, while the Matadors stayed flat. The Lady Mats were unable to stop the tough Palo Alto serves and spikes, with miscommunication errors on both blocking and passing. With five consecutive points from Palo Alto and the ever constant pressure from the Palo Alto front row, the Matadors were not able to utilize the blocks being made by their teammates and could not get the ball over the net. Overall the Vikings won the set, with the score at 14-25.

“It’s tough playing against really good hitters and blockers,” junior Serena Chew said. “[It] gets us down.”

With now two set losses, the Matadors hoped to open up the third set strong. However, the Matadors struggled to score points due to the good blocks made from Palo Alto. However, with the game at 12-23, the Matadors began to rally back with agile blocks from junior Neesha Bhardwaj and spikes by senior Carmella Vong, to cut the Vikings’ lead to 15-23. However, this sudden burst of intensity came too late in the game, and the Matadors lost the set at 16-25.

This game was a disappointing loss for the Matadors, and these next few games against Gunn and Los Altos will be crucial in making sure they secure their spot in CCS.

“Every win, every loss matters,” Anderson said. “We did okay, [but] not our best game.”

Their next home game is on Nov. 1 at 6:45 p.m. against Gunn High School.