The Paly Voice

Volleyball Recap: Vikings suffer heartbreaking defeat on Senior Night

Jack Shapiro and Neal Biswas

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The Palo Alto Vikings and Los Gatos Wildcats take the court on Senior Night as the lineups are announced. The Vikings went on to lose in five sets. Photo by Jack Shapiro

The Palo Alto High School Vikings (26-6, 11-2) dropped a nail-biting match to the Los Gatos Wildcats (20-6, 10-3) Tuesday night, ending Senior Night in sour defeat.

After battling through the first four sets, the Vikings were never able to take the lead in the fifth. A series of kills by junior Becca Raffel and senior Shelby Knowles pulled the Vikings within two, but the Wildcats would not give up the lead. Down 14-11, Paly lost a long rally and was handed their second defeat of the regular season, both to Los Gatos.

Paly forced a fifth set after storming back to win the fourth set 25-23. Paly went on a 5-0 run to gain the advantage behind strong play from Knowles.

The Vikings came out on their home court focused and took the first set by a score of 25-21.

Los Gatos seized control of the match by narrowly winning the second and third sets, 25-22 and 25-21 respectively. The Wildcats were unable to seal the victory in the fourth set, but mustered up enough energy to finish off the Vikings in the final set.

The Vikings lost to the Wildcats for the second time this season. However, the Vikings still sit atop the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza League standings with an 11-2 record. Meanwhile, Los Gatos improved to 10-3, closing in on the second place Homestead Mustangs (17-8, 10-2).

Head Coach Dave Winn was proud of his team despite the disappointing defeat.

“We’ve definitely overachieved,” Winn said. “They’re an amazing group of girls and nobody expected us to be at this point of the season after we graduated all those [seniors] from last year. Even I didn’t think we would be this good.”

The Vikings also honored their two seniors and co-captains Shelby Knowles and Sophia Bono on Senior Night.

After playing her last home game at Paly, Bono reflected on what she would miss most about Paly volleyball.

“I’m going to miss my teammates a lot and just hanging out with them,” Bono said. “And just getting to share special moments with them on and off the court.”

The Vikings finish off their regular season on the road against crosstown rival Gunn High School at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday.

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