Girls volleyball: After a first round victory, Matadors fall short in the CCS quarterfinals

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Malini Ramaiyer

After moving down to the El Camino league, the girls volleyball team knew they were going to have a better season this year. Last season, they were at the bottom of the De Anza league, with a record of 0-12. This season, they not only did better, but with a veteran team, the Matadors made it to the top, going 12-0 and advancing to CCS.

Nov. 11: Game 1

Story by Kalpana Gopalkrishnan, Additional reporting by Pranav Iyer

On Nov. 11, the team protected its undefeated record in the first round of CCS.  The Matadors dominated in straight sets against Andrew Hill High School. Although MVHS did not perform as per usual in the second and third sets, the game almost seemed like a warmup for the road to the championships.

“There are a few things we worked on in practice that we wanted to see,” coach Colin Anderson said. “We have seen this team before.”

The Matadors closed the first set with a 25-9 win. Junior Ellie Cary dominated the court with a five-point serving streak. 

“It was just another game we had to win,” Cary said. “At the beginning we were all a little bit nervous, but we knew we could handle it.”

The third set followed a similar pattern with MVHS making similar mistakes. However, MVHS continued to capitalize on long rallies, and plays were occasionally continued with a save from team captain and setter senior Sydney Howard.

“We treated [this CCS game] like any other game,” sophomore Alia Johnson said. “But it was also a bad thing, because we didn’t play with as much energy as we should have.”

Still, the Matadors were tested in the second and third sets. It was not AHHS that rose to the occasion but rather MVHS that suffered from miscommunication errors and hitting the ball out of bounds. Johnson’s spikes and blocks from middle preserved the Matador lead, and MVHS won the second set 25-19 after a back and forth lead and a push at the end of the set.

The third set followed a similar pattern with MVHS making similar mistakes. However, MVHS continued to capitalize on long rallies, and plays were occasionally continued with a save from Howard.

“We treated [this CCS game] like any other game,” Johnson said. “But it was also a bad thing, because we didn’t play with as much energy as we should have.”

Nov. 14: Game 2

Story and video by Aditya Pimplaskar and Malini Ramaiyer

The second CCS game was also a home match for the Matadors, but a rowdy group of Carlmont High School boys donning blue shirts and face paint congregated in the upper right corner of the MVHS bleachers. A crowd of CHS supporters had piled into the gym to barely outnumber the Matador fans for this playoffs game. With crowded stands nevertheless, MVHS took on CHS in the CCS quarterfinal match, and fell to the Scots in four sets.

“We had some good moments. It was rough for us when [senior Riku Jandu] re-injured her knee,” Anderson said. “You could tell we had to adjust not having [Jandu]. It presented another challenge that we didn’t need.”

Following the devastating re-injury of starter Jandu’s knee, along with miscommunication and inconsistent passing, the Matadors fell short of victory.

“I’m a senior and it’s CCS, so it’s the last everything. Not being able to play was just really frustrating,” Jandu said. “But all I could do, instead of being frustrated, I just had to cheer my team on.”