The Paly Voice

Volleyball holds on to beat Presentation, 3-2

Grant Raffel, Author

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Shelby Knowles, Melanie Wade, Maddie Kuppe, Kimmy Whitson, and Becca Raffel (l-r) celebrate a huge point in Paly’s five-set victory over nationally ranked Presentation High School.  The final score was 25-19, 27-25, 21-25, 19-25, and 15-11.

– Matt Ersted

In a closely matched volleyball game between two nationally ranked teams, Palo Alto High School (10-0) beat Presentation High School, 3-2, in its first home match of the season.

No. 5 Palo Alto took the first two games while No. 24 Presentation answered by winning the following two.  In the fifth and final game, the Vikings took a commanding lead, 6-1, and held on for a 15-11 victory.

“Everybody had some rough patches in that match,” head coach Dave Winn said.  “But the cool thing about having senior leadership is they don’t get frazzled by that.  They just work through it.”

The Vikings jumped out to a quick 10-2 lead in the first game, but Presentation cut it to 17-15 before Paly would take control again and win the game, 25-19.

The teams traded points in the second game, which could have gone either way, but Paly scored key points at crucial times to win the game, 27-25, and took a two-sets-to-none lead.

At this point, although not dominating, the Vikings appeared confident and ready to close out the match.  However, the teams traded points throughout the third game before Presentation pulled away at the end to finally beat Paly, 25-21.

The Panthers again separated from the Vikings in the fourth game, winning 25-19 and forcing a fifth game to decide the match.

“[I] just wanted to keep everybody calm and focused on the task at hand,” Winn said.  “We didn’t want to think about [the fact that] we were up 2-0 now we’re [tied] 2-2.  It’s one set. It’s even. We’re just starting the match [again].  We practice that in practice almost every day, so I think that’s a big benefit for us.  We’re used to that stress.”

The Vikings found their rhythm in the fifth game, jumping out to a 6-1 lead.  They would end up winning the game, 15-11, and took the match three sets to two.

Senior middle blocker Melanie Wade attributes the team’s success in the fifth game to a calm mindset.

“We just wanted to stay relaxed [and] play one point at a time,” Wade said.  “We just wanted to play every point by itself and that’s what we did.”

In such a closely contested match, Winn was glad his team jumped out to an early lead.

“We were fortunate to have a lead two sets to none because we had to weather the storm,” Winn said.  “It wasn’t until we got that 4-1 separation to start the fifth [set] that I started taking any breaths, just because it was so tight the whole time.”

As the Vikings play other highly ranked opponents like St. Francis in the coming weeks, Wade believes they should prepare for the matches as usual while maintaining a high level of focus.

“It just takes a little more focus to play against good teams, but we try to approach every match the same,” Wade said. “Scout the team and do the things we can control.”

Paly will take on Sacred Heart Prep at 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 13, in the Paly gym and looks to continue its winning ways.

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