GIRLS VOLLEYBALL CCS: Offense comes up big in 3-1 victory

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GIRLS VOLLEYBALL CCS: Offense comes up big in 3-1 victory

Atharva Fulay

Team goal not accomplished yet

The Matadors set the tone from the beginning. They started quicker than usual, forcing seed No. 7 Santa Teresa High School to make unforced errors while strong serving and communication gave MVHS confidence to win. The Matadors, ranked 10th in Division I, defeated the Santa Teresa Saints 3-1 on Nov. 11 in the first round of CCS play. Though senior Allison Yu, a key player on the team, could not play because of an ankle injury sustained at practice a few days before the game, juniors Beverly Yu and Nikita Sankar led the offense while senior Serena Chew and freshman Brenda Chan made numerous defensive digs.

Head coach Colin Anderson emphasized the team’s confidence coming into the game.

“No offense [to STHS],” he said, “but we really thought we were the better team coming into the game. It was not our best game, it could have been better.”

Anderson was even able to play all of the players.

In the first set, the game started off tight with a score of 3-3, but tough serves and communication on long rallies helped the Matadors gain a lead. STHS senior Cassidy Sanders-Curry, outside hitter, played a hard-fought game, leading the Saints in kills. MVHS had a tough time digging Sanders-Curry’s hits, as she challenged the blocking defense. But the rest of the STHS team made many mental errors, such as making a net violation, double touches on sets and simply hitting the ball out of bounds. Missed serves by the Matadors, though were their one lapse during the first set. With MVHS leading 21-17, the rallies became longer, and players were out of breath after each play. The Matadors won the set 25-18.

“I felt pretty confident, coming from the upper league,” Chew said. “[STHS has] definitely never faced a team like us. So I don’t think they were ready for the speed of play that we brought. [We had to] make sure we [got] up a big block against [Sanders-Curry] and dig up everything we could.”

With the other school’s crowd taunting the MVHS players, Anderson asked the referees to tell the crowd to calm down. After starting off quickly in the second set, the Matadors gave up a run of three points due to bad passing. Level of defense for MVHS dropped, but their offense was dominant. Yu and Sankar’s kills extended their lead to 15-11 and the Matadors kept their lead with tough serves and aces that forced STHS to call timeouts at 18-13 and 22-16. With MVHS playing strong defense at the net, Sanders-Curry came back with a few huge hits, but it was not enough. The Matadors took the second set with a score of 25-20.

The Saints swung the momentum in their direction in the third set. They led 8-6 and hit the ball with power, as the MVHS defense was not able to pick it up. The Saints’ serves improved and even made a few aces forcing a Matador timeout, 15-9. MVHS tried to make a comeback with a few blocks by sophomore Maria Balus and Yu on offense, but the Saints won 25-14.

“We weren’t playing well in the third game,” Sankar said. “But we knew we could pick it up and get back in it to win.”

To begin the fourth set, the Matadors set the middle hitter for the first three plays, giving them a quick lead. They struggled with getting digs up, but when MVHS was able to dig the ball, they executed their offense well. But strong play at the net, gave them the quick lead, 9-4. The Saints attempted a comeback, coming within one point of the lead, 9-10, but a serving run by MVHS freshman Sydney Howard widened the lead again. The Matadors never looked back as the team relied on Yu to kill the ball to win the game, 25-18.

“At the beginning of the season, our goal was not to win this game,” Anderson said. “Our goal is to win the game on Saturday [against Salinas].”

The Matadors, No. 10 seed in Divison I, advance into the next round for CCS. Their next game is at Salinas High School on Saturday, Nov. 10 against SHS, No. 2 seed in Division I.