Girls’ volleyball defeats Monte Vista, advances in playoffs

Malia Wanderer and Amy Yu

Junior middle blocker Trisha Razdan spikes the ball against Monte Vista in the Vikings’ first game of the Division I California Interscholastic Federation Championships State Championships. The Vikings won the match, 3-1, against the Mustangs, after losing to Menlo Atherton in the first round of California Interscholastic Federation Central Coast Section open division. “We just wanted to come out strong and show all the hard work we’ve been doing,” Razdan said. Photo: Malia Wanderer

The Palo Alto High School girls’ varsity volleyball team (21-7) will advance to the second round of the Division I California Interscholastic Federation Championships for states after defeating Monte Vista (23-12) three-sets-to-one Tuesday.

The Vikings are seeded fourth in the Northern California region for the Division I CIF State Girls’ Volleyball Championships. 

The Vikings lost to Menlo-Atherton in the first round of the Central Coast Section open division Nov. 2. According to volleyball coach Chris Crader, the team was hoping to come out stronger this match.

“I didn’t think we played that great that match [against Menlo Atherton], and I wanted us as a team, for our sake, to feel like we played better,” Crader said. 

In the first set, Paly and Monte Vista were neck-and-neck, with neither side being able to gain a substantial lead. Although the Vikings gained momentum early with kills from both senior middle blocker Amelia Gibbs and junior outside hitter Sophia Krugler and an ace by sophomore setter Hillary Cheung, Monte Vista quickly caught up and kept the score close. After three consecutive kills by junior middle blocker Trisha Razdan, the Vikings managed to stay in the lead, winning the set, 25-23.

The Vikings kept up the momentum for the second set, dominating offensively with kills from Gibbs, sophomore right-side hitter Thea Enache and sophomore outside hitter Amelia Vugrincic. Paly also exhibited strong defense with blocks from Gibbs, Enache, and senior middle blocker Grace Thayer. Monte Vista was unable to keep up with the Viking’s momentum, making countless offensive mistakes including hitting out of bounds and service errors as well as defensive mistakes resulting from poor communication, allowing Paly to take the set, 25-10.

The third set brought a change of pace as the Vikings began to struggle to score while Monte Vista came out with many strong offensive plays, maintaining at least a five-point lead for most of the set. While Paly managed to score consecutive points in the middle of the set, the Vikings were unable to match the Mustangs’ pace, which resulted in the Vikings losing the set, 14-25.

Paly came out strong in the fourth and final set with stellar offense and defense both on and off the net, giving them a continuously lengthening lead. Gibbs, Krugler, Razdan, and Vugrincic made blocks and kills in the front, while senior libero Rebekah Limb played a strong defensive game in the back row with countless digs and dives. The Mustangs, unable to handle the offensive pressure from Paly, were unable to cover the court well, allowing the Vikings to win the set by a landslide, 25-10. 

According to Razdan, the Vikings have a chance to go farther in the tournament if they continue to play at a high level. 

“If we play well together, and we are a really strong team, and if we combine all our assets and continue to put in work at practice, we can go far in playoffs,” Razdan said. 

The Vikings’ will play next in the second round of the tournament against Pleasant Valley High School at 6 p.m. Thursday at Paly.