Volleyball to defend state title after winning NorCal Championship

Juliana Moraes-Liu, Author

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Paly’s varsity volleyball team celebrates its second straight CIF NorCal Championship after defeating Menlo-Atherton High School in straight sets Tuesday night.

– Matt Ersted

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Palo Alto High School’s volleyball team (35-3) is set to defend its state championship title after winning the Division I Northern California Championship with a win over Menlo-Atherton High School (31-7) tonight at Paly.

The Vikings won all three sets, winning the first set 25-17, the second 25-8 and the third 25-15.

The first set had many momentum swings as both teams scored runs of up to six consecutive points. However, Paly ran away with the second set, leading it at one point 17-3. The third set was more competitive, but the Vikings still triumphed by a large margin.

“We did great,” head coach Dave Winn said. “All facets of our game were on tonight. It was going to take a really, really tough team to beat us tonight.”

The team plans to continue working hard this week in preparation for the State Championship game, which will take place in southern California this Saturday.

“We are going to continue to focus on our serve and pass,” Winn said. “If we serve tough and get teams out of system, I don’t care how good their hitters are, they’re going to have to deal with issues.”

Paly won the California State Division I Championship last year and finds itself in a similar position this year with an opportunity to re-capture the title if it can beat Marymount High School. Marumount beat Los Alamitos High School tonight to advance to the state championship game, according to the CIF website.

“We’re really not thinking about repeating,” Winn said. “All season long, we are looking on going 1-0. One point at a time. One set. One match. One championship. We’re not even thinking about last year.”

For now, the team plans to work hard at practice and improve every bit it can in preparation for the big game.

“Even though the season’s almost over, we are still improving a lot every day in practice and we hope to do our best on Saturday,” sophomore Becca Raffel said.

The Vikings look to their final game of the season with both confidence and caution.

“It’s not going to be an easy match,” assistant coach Greg Lara said. “But [there] hasn’t been an easy match since we got into NorCals. It wasn’t an easy match last year at state finals. The team we are going to play is good, but we are really good too. It should be fun.”

Paly will play for the Division I Volleyball State Championship at 7 p.m. on Dec. 3 at Concordia University in Irvine against Marymount High School.