Boys’ volleyball shuts out Gunn

Benjamin Huang, Arts and Entertainment Editor

The Palo Alto High School boys’ volleyball team rejoices in its victory against Gunn High School 3-0 on Tuesday. Coach Ed Yeh listed the players’ determination to win as a standout quality. “I liked their steel,” Yeh said. “Your character isn’t tested during good times, your character’s tested during hard times … we showed a lot of discipline on our side.” Photo: Benjamin Huang

The third time’s the charm: After two consecutive losses to Gunn High School (9-8, 4-4) last year, the Palo Alto High School boys’ volleyball team (12-4, 8-1) defeated the Titans, 3-0, in an away game on Wednesday.

The scores remained tight throughout the first set, with neither team able to gain a clear advantage. Midway through, the Vikings began to gain momentum when sophomore setter Finn Hadly bumped the ball into the air, allowing senior Raymon Chen to slam the ball into the Titans’ court and scoring the Vikings a point.

“Finn threw me the ball, and I hit it downline really hard, we usually call that a bounce,” Chen said. “That was probably the highlight of my game because that doesn’t happen too often.”

The Vikings took the first set, 25-19.

During the second set, the Vikings came out swinging, taking an early lead and maintaining it throughout the set. Chen and junior middle blocker Reid Sox-Harris led the Vikings in terms of scoring.

Despite a late surge by the Titans, who went on a 6-point streak, the Vikings were already too far ahead and won the second set, 25-17.

The third and final set was another pitched battle with many intense rallies and every score accompanied by cheering from spectators in the stands. The Titans and the Vikings remained neck and neck until, with the score at 24-23, a spike from Chen sealed the Vikings’ victory in the clutch, 25-23.

“They beat us twice last year, so I really appreciate the improvement that we’ve shown since last year,” coach Ed Yeh said. “It’s great to beat them because it’s a good milestone for where we are now.”

As the Vikings rejoice in their victory, some players are already looking to the next season. Chen, who will be leaving the team next year, says he is confident that other teammates will step up to fill his shoes. 

“Our other key player is #8 [junior Tyler Yen],” Chen said. “He’s already sort of stepping up this year because I’ve been forcing him to, but I definitely think he’s going to continue to step up next year and really lead the team.”

The win comes as the seventh in a six-game win streak that began on March 16 after Paly defeated Santa Clara High School, 2-0,.

“We have to win out right now, we lost a game to Wilcox,” Yeh said. “If we win out this season, we’ll win leagues and make playoffs [to the state championship]. That’s our goal.”

The Vikings’ next game is against Burlingame High School at 6:45 p.m. Friday at Paly.