Girls volleyball: Team conquers rival Lynbrook HS in straight sets

Junior+Ellie+Cary+goes+up+for+a+hit+from+outside+in+the+second+set.+With+17+total+kills+in+the+match%2C+Carys+offense+was+key+to+MVHS+success+in+the+match.+Photo+by+Malini+Ramaiyer+

Junior Ellie Cary goes up for a hit from outside in the second set. With 17 total kills in the match, Cary’s offense was key to MVHS’ success in the match. Photo by Malini Ramaiyer

Malini Ramaiyer

Girls volleyball vs. Lynbrook High School 10/27

Photos by Malini Ramaiyer

The girls volleyball team is the top team in the El Camino League. On Oct. 6, they beat the closest competitor in the league in straight sets. On Oct. 27, the Lynbrook High School Vikings sailed over to MVHS to avenge their Oct. 6 loss. The team anticipated this match with their rivals — a Facebook event was created, promotion was consistent and during the game, MVHS and LHS fans alike were there to cheer their teams on.

 

Junior Ellie Cary goes up for a hit from outside in the second set. With 17 total kills in the match, Cary's offense was key to MVHS' success in the match. Photo by Malini Ramaiyer
Junior Ellie Cary goes up for a hit from outside in the second set. With 17 total kills in the match, Cary’s offense was key to MVHS’ success in the match. Photo by Malini Ramaiyer

MVHS expected a tough match but they also expected a win, which is exactly what they got. The Matadors defeated the Vikings in straight sets for the second time this season with a strong offense. Junior Ellie Cary’s game was key throughout the match. Often in consecutive plays, Cary would get a side out for the team, continue to serve and win the next point on a hit, with a total of 17 kills for the match

The first set began and ended in what head coach Colin Anderson described as strong play. The team had worked on serve-receive and serving the practices leading up to the match, so the growing crowd cheered in reaction to a series of aces and spot-on passes by the Matadors. This solid set led to a quick win 25-13 for MVHS.

In the second set, however, the Matadors’ game wasn’t as straightforward. In the first few points, the defense and communication fell to the Vikings’ hard serves. The team was riddled with shanked passes and dropped balls.

“We relaxed too much because the first game was easy,” sophomore Alia Johnson said.

However, LHS was unable to gain more than two to three points at a time, so the score moved up in ties, causing for an intense second set. MVHS kept up with the offense consistently generating attacks on LHS. Cary, Johnson, junior Selena Liu and junior Amanda Hua all made for a crushing offense that was led by setter senior Sydney Howard. With their kills and strategic tips, MVHS came out on top 25-21 despite their errors. Anderson explained that it wasn’t until the third set that the Matadors cut these errors and played the way they did in the first set.

“Game two, our serve-receive fell a little bit. We got a little distracted, got a little too casual,” Anderson said. “At 20-15 game three, it was a time out and I just told them ‘We’re not playing the level we need to’ and those girls finished on a 5-1 run.”

The beginning of the third set was truly a rough start for the Matadors as the LHS serve got four points on the Matadors, two of which were aces. The Vikings pulled ahead by 5, 1-6 and the Matadors couldn’t get out of their heads to make solid passes for Howard to set up. Nevertheless, with the offense of the night and the serving errors by LHS, the Matadors were able to catch up and pull ahead to 9-8.

A large group of fans gathered by the third set and organized cheers for MVHS. Many fans came to witness the match against rival team Lynbrook HS. Photo by Malini Ramaiyer
A large group of fans gathered by the third set and organized cheers for MVHS. Many fans came to witness the match against rival team Lynbrook HS. Photo by Malini Ramaiyer

“It was all a mental thing because we’re physically able to do it,” senior Riku Jandu said. “We’re better players that what we portrayed today.”

Despite MVHS’ slow start, the third set was notable for the energy in the crowd. Whereas, at the beginning of the game, few fans sat in the stands and Matadors and Vikings sat together as a group to cheer for the game. As the game progressed, especially in this third set when MVHS caught up, the stands became full and polarized — the Matadors and Vikings were at war as they tried to drown out each other with cheers.

“If you want to call it a rivalry, I just want to call it a chance for the two teams to really rise up and show how they can play,” Anderson said. “I think we had a great crowd, a lot of great people. It’s a pressure moment and how do you rise when you’re challenged, what do you do when things are difficult. I’m proud of what we did. In a difficult match, we were great.”

Senior Michelle Wang pancakes and misses a tip by the Lynbrook Vikings. The MVHS defense had a shaky start in this third set of the match on Oct. 27. Photo by Malini Ramaiyer
Senior Michelle Wang pancakes and misses a tip by the Lynbrook Vikings. The MVHS defense had a shaky start in this third set of the match on Oct. 27. Photo by Malini Ramaiyer

The Matadors picked up their game at 20-15 after the timeout needing just five points left to win the set and match. As Anderson would describe as the play of the match, a shanked ball by MVHS sent Jandu running off the court. The team, the coach and the crowd expected it to lead to a dead play, but Jandu saved the point with one handed back pass, continuing the play which led to a kill for MVHS. Jandu’s play and her following serving streak motivated the crowd to start a cheer in her name.

The set closed 25-17 with a hard hit down the line by Cary from outside. Throughout the match Cary hit on the angle, so this kill represented truly strategic play and ended the set and match with a twist.

“Once Riku chased that ball down, I knew the night was over,” Anderson said. “I’m so happy — I’ve been talking about this game for a while, what we needed to do and we did it. It really came through.”

The team’s senior game will take place next Tuesday Nov. 3 against Fremont High School at 6:30 p.m.