Five things we like and don’t like, featuring Paly trying to get swole
An all new recurring column in which staffers Benner Mullin and Kasra Orumchian can pour their hearts out over their love for all things Vikings athletics.
1. Volleyball impresses
Opening night of the Peery Family Center was electric. The Vikes started off the fall sports season for the Viking faithful in the best way possible: a win against Gunn in straight sets. It wasn’t very close either. Gunn broke single digits in the third set, but just barely.
Three things really stuck out to us while watching.
First, the volleyball team was composed and lethal. There weren’t many mistakes on the Paly side of the net and the Vikings never let Gunn feel like they really ever stood a chance to win. It was clear each player knew her role on the court and executed it adeptly. Digs went straight up, sets were perfect, and spikes were powerful and placed.
Second, they’re experienced. Twelve players from last year’s team — which placed second in the Central Coast Section tournament — are back. That also means that there are a lot of players on the team that remember a frustrating loss to Los Gatos in the CCS championship game and won’t let that happen again.
Third, the gym is in dire need of a ventilation system of some sort. When the student section was leaving after the game, it looked like there had been a rainstorm inside the gym.
2. Football’s dynamic duo: Jackson and Jackson
One big disappointment from the first two football games was the absence of senior running back Paul Jackson III who tore up defenses last season. A nagging injury limited him in the loss to Half Moon Bay, a huge setback for Paly’s offense. Junior quarterback Jackson Chryst is talented, but can’t make the whole offense hum by himself.
The difference in the offense with and without Jackson is apparent. Without Jackson, Paly lacks a ground game strong enough to intimidate defenses. Defenses can feel comfortable stacking the box to get extra pressure on Chryst in the pocket and stifle the run game or dropping back under cover to force throws into double coverage downfield. With Jackson on the field, defenses have to respect Paly’s ability to move the chains on the ground, which opens up more space for Chryst and the receivers to operate. This is especially crucial for Paly because Chryst has a cannon for an arm and can accurately hit receivers in stride downfield, provided they can make the catch.
Jackson is a player. He rushed for a team-high 1266 yards on 222 attempts last season and found the end zone 12 times. He also contributed in the passing game, catching eight passes for 106 yards. The centerpiece of the Paly football team, if Jackson repeats or improves upon last year’s performance, he will be a force to be reckoned with in CCS, and a huge weapon for Chryst and coach Danny Sullivan’s offense.
Chryst is coming off a rough season, having thrown for 868 yards, five touchdowns, and 10 interceptions, while finishing with a Quarterback Rating of 37.9 out of 158.3. This season, Chryst’s QBR is at 66.6% and combined with a healthy Jackson, both Chryst’s individual stats and the team as a whole will benefit.
We look forward to the first game when both Jacksons can play at full strength and see Paly’s offense find its stride.
3. Second-rate student section
As avid members of the Paly Sixth Man, we ventured out to a boys’ water polo game and another girls’ volleyball game recently. We went to support our friends on the team as well as the Vikes. Unfortunately, attendance was lacking. Fewer than 20 students came out to both of the games. The boys’ water polo team was playing its first game at home since the renovations of the gym began in 2014. A pretty significant game, no? Not to mention water polo is an exciting and violent game to watch. It’s a full contact sport played in a pool. That’s just an interesting concept. Kids in their speedos trying their hardest to kick, punch, and drown other kids in speedos and no one can stand. We thoroughly enjoyed watching the boys dominate Monta Vista and will certainly be stopping by more games in the future. Now, volleyball. Opening night was great, sure. A good number of students came out to the game, but that’s not the only home game this season. Wednesday night, the Vikes faced off against the eighth ranked team in the nation and our crowd was lacking. Not only did the student body miss out on an opportunity to support the volleyball team, but they also missed some high-quality volleyball.
A game that Paly should win does not define a game that should have a crowd. We ride with our Vikes, win or lose.
4. Weight room hours
The Peery Family Center finds itself on our dislikes twice this edition. The new facilities are incredible and you’d be hard-pressed to find a student who disagreed, however, the availability of the weight room has been a disappointment thus far. Sure, it’s open every day after school, but students have other commitments after school and the schedule provides no flexibility. Can’t go in early, can’t stay late. Not to mention, there are no opportunities to use the weight room on the weekends, the time when students are most likely to have free time to work out. It seems counterintuitive to spend such a large amount of money on new athletics facilities but then fail to provide students with opportunities to use them to get better. A fair share of Paly students and student athletes are just doing their best to get huge, and these limitations on hours restrict Vikings from getting their gain on.
5. Gym has no chill
We mentioned this earlier, but it’s worth talking about again. While watching the Paly vs. Gunn volleyball we had one thought nagging us throughout: “It’s way too hot in here.” Fortunately, neither of us made the mistake of wearing a gray shirt, however other fans weren’t as fortunate as us. What the engineers of the new facilities failed to realize is that supporting the Vikes is a physical activity. This isn’t the Master’s golf tournament; Viking fans get hyped just to get hyped. Without proper ventilation, the gym becomes a hostile cheering environment and students will not be able to rally to the best of their abilities.