Recap: Girls’ v-ball loses in tight CCS quarterfinals, states loom

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    Palo Alto High School sophomore middle blocker Mia Gibbs reaches to block a back row hitter as her teammates cover her in the match on Saturday against St. Francis. The Vikings were placed in the Open Division for the California Interscholastic Federation Central Coast Section due to their victories in league. “They earned the points that they earned and they went for it,” interim varsity coach Benji Saetang said. Photo: Ellie Krugler

    The Palo Alto High School girls’ volleyball team (23-4, 12-0) lost the quarterfinals of the Central Coast Section Open Division to the St. Francis Lancers (24-12, 6-5) at St. Francis High School Saturday in a tight match that went to five sets and put Paly out of the competition until the state championships.

    The Lancers rallied and won the first set, 25-12. Not to be counted out, Paly forged ahead by seven points in the second set.

    Senior libero Susanna Limb had a strong presence, contributing to the lead in the second set with a series of clean digs. Despite a few errors covering the ball, the Viking’s aggression at the net helped them maintain the lead, winning the set, 25-18.

    Freshman setter Kylie Mies took to the court during Saturday’s match after having moved up from junior varsity for CCS. Mies played back row throughout the match.

    “It was really fun,” Mies said. “I played a different position that I usually don’t play, but they [her teammates] were very helpful and they told me what to do.”

    The Lancers remained ahead of the game throughout the third set with well-placed hits and solid blocking. Paly failed to close the gap, and after a few setting errors by the Vikings, the Lancers won the round with a stuff block and a score of 25-19.

    The fourth set was the closest of the match as Paly won by a margin of just two points. The 25-23 point victory brought the match to a fifth set, where Paly won the coin toss and took the first serve.

    The Lancers swept the last set 15-6, claiming the overall victory. Junior Mikayla Morgan, a setter on the St. Francis team, recalled the intensity of the game.

    “My team [St. Francis] pulled ahead by our service runs and placement of our hits,” Morgan said. “Our defense was strong and we communicated.”

    After Saturday’s win, St. Francis will continue into the CCS semi-finals against St. Ignatius (32-8, 7-3), with Paly out of the competition for the Open Division.

    Since Paly moved up to the Open Division for CCS, the team will automatically qualify for state playoffs this month. The Vikings will return to the court to compete in Division I for the state championships.

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