Game GIFs: Boys volleyball dominates against Homestead High School

Malini Ramaiyer

The boys volleyball team has a season record of 21-2 and a league record of 7-1. They won 15 of those 21 games in straight sets, so their win against Homestead High School on Wednesday April 8 was not a surprising one but neither was their streak of careless mistakes in their last set. The Matadors are a strong team and carry lofty goals of winning CCS and NorCals, but they lose focus frequently. And this comes at a cost whether it be a mere nine points like in this game or a whole match like in their home tournament championship of which they won one set 25-10 but lost three other sets.

Nevertheless, three ranks above the Mustangs in the league, the Matadors jumped higher, passed cleaner and hit harder, winning 3-0 (25-10, 25-13, 25-20).

Sophomore Prathik Aman Rao hit down the line from outside in the second set, but a tight HHS pass led to a tip right into the middle of MVHS’ side. A lack of coverage, especially in between zone four and six, led to unforced errors and free points for HHS throughout the match.

MVHS won a point off of a weak HHS back row hit as setter junior Eric Zhang tipped on HHS off of a clean pass from junior Alvin Lui. Despite careless errors, the Matadors were the better team and won the first and second sets by ten and thirteen points respectively.

Zhang and junior Nathan Mallipeddi blocked a short HHS outside hit in the last set. The Matadors started off this set off well with several blocks and serving streaks taking the team to a lead of 13 points. MVHS pulled ahead to 21-8 and then began to lose points.

Senior Kevin Zhang passed on the net off of HHS junior Michael Chow’s serve. Adjusting to the tight pass, Eric set junior Alex Li with one hand and Li hit it into the net. Chow’s serving streak gave HHS seven points, taking the score to 22-15. Despite the fact that they were rapidly losing their lead, MVHS simply laughed at themselves as they walked back to their positions, expecting to win the next point.

“We kind of have fun every now and then,” head coach Paul Chiu said. “But they have to understand their limits.”

With HHS a mere four points behind, Eric finished off the match with a tip into the Mustangs’ zone four — the achilles heel of both teams. So even though the Matadors’ lead went from 13 to four points, they won the match in straight sets.

“[In the last set], we lost focus and we all wanted to go home,” Lui said. “We weren’t in the mindset so it is what it is and we got the victory.”

The team hopes to focus on these silly mistakes for the second half of their season; however, it has been tough as players’ busy schedules and injuries leave the team lacking at both practices and matches.

“We haven’t had the full squad two matches in a row for the entire season,” Chiu said. “We still have some injuries but the season has progressed well. We’re right there at the hunt for the league title and we got to finish strong. ”

The next home game will take place on April 22 at 6:45 p.m. against Eastside College Prep.

Photos and videos by Christine Liang.