Boys’ volleyball falls to Kings Academy in last game

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Benjamin Grimes

Junior Evan Passaleacqua spikes the ball over the net during the last varsity boys’ volleyball game of the season against Kings Academy Friday at home. According to head coach Ed Yeh, this year was meant for rebuilding and preparing for next season. “This year was always a weird year, and always a rebuilding year because we lost a lot of seniors last year,” Yeh said. “We actually did as well or better than expected this season.”

Benjamin Grimes, Staff Writer

In a neck-and-neck match Friday night, the Palo Alto High School varsity boys’ volleyball team fell short to Kings Academy in the final game of the season. 

After coming off a 3-0 loss from Fremont, the Vikings wanted to give it one last shot and enjoy themselves in the final game, according to head coach Ed Yeh.

Junior Evan Passalacqua spikes the ball over the net during the last varsity boys’ volleyball game of the season against Kings Academy Friday at home. “This year was always a weird year, and always a rebuilding year because we lost a lot of seniors last year,” head coach Ed Yeh said. “We actually did as well or better than expected this season.” (Photo: Benjamin Grimes)

“We had an up and down season so the mindset was just to play strong,” Yeh said. “We weren’t playing for anything, we were just playing for Paly pride.”

The Knights quickly took the lead early in the first set, demonstrating excellent defense and denied the Vikings at the net. After being down six points, a series of great serves from junior outside hitter Owen Rice and an ace from sophomore setter Calvin Wong turned it around to give Paly victory of the first set, 25-21. 

According to freshman middle blocker Cal Currier, the win in the first set was due to the Vikings’ positioning.

“We did a good job hitting, I got a couple of blocks which was good and in general we got a lot of good blocks,” Currier said. “I think our biggest strength was our positioning.”

Although Paly started strong in the first set, the Knights ultimately pulled away in the second set, despite a valiant effort from the Vikings, 20-25. 

After losing the second set, Wong knew that the top-ranked Knights would be a tough opponent to topple.

“They were the best team in the league, so I knew it [the game] wouldn’t be an easy one,” Wong said. “I knew they were going to give us good competition.” 

The Vikings came into the third set ready to compete, and both teams played hard. With the score tied up at 20-20, kills from senior outside hitter Finn Hadly and Rice helped push the Vikings to a 26-24 win of the third set. 

After winning the third set, Wong said he knew the team needed one last push to end the game. 

“In the huddle, I told them [the team] that we needed to stay consistent and hyped them all up,” Wong said.” As long as we play as a team and bring the intensity we should be good.”

Despite taking an early lead in the fourth set, multiple kills from the Knights led to a tie game once again, 22-22. The set proved to be just as close as the last one, with both teams playing hard. Kings Academy ultimately persevered and won the set 23-25, sending the Vikings’ to the fifth and final set.

“You just need to trust your team and keep your head up,” Wong said. “Our team was super positive and fought for every single point.”

The last set proved just as well-matched as the previous sets, with the score tied up at 14-14. In the final points of the season, Kings Academy powered through and won the set 16-14, resulting in an overall victory of three sets to two. 

“I think our team played everything well,” Yeh said. “It was really evenly matched teams, and we lost by just those two points at the end.”

With lots of young talent on the team, the Vikings have high hopes for the next season, according to Wong. 

“I was the only one in my class to play this season, but many of the freshman like Cal stepped up and improved tremendously throughout this season,” Wong said. “I’m excited to see what we can do next season.”