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Varsity girls volleyball defeats LAHS Eagles 3-2 in close rivalry battle

The MVHS varsity girls volleyball team was victorious against LAHS at Monday night’s away game, securing a close win against their rival, the Eagles, in a 3-2 match.

The match lasted five sets, with each team working hard for the win. Although the Spartans went into the game on a roll with a five-game winning streak, the Eagles fought hard to defend their home territory, making the match a hard-earned victory for MVHS.

“It doesn’t matter how each of the teams are doing. Whenever it’s a rivalry game, it’s always even,” head coach Dave Winn said. “I expected it to go to five [sets], just like it did last year, and it did.”

The Eagles had a strong start to the first set of the match, hitting powerful spikes to match the Spartans’ blocks. 

Throughout the first set, blocks by junior middle hitter Emmy Thomander and hits by junior middle blocker and opposite hitter Mallory Berent helped the Spartans tie the score at 22-22. 

“Mallory was outstanding tonight for hitting,” junior libero Kendyll Winn said. “I don’t think she made any errors. [She was] going up swinging, crushing it, bouncing it on their court.”

No ball went untouched [and our] effort was 110% at all times.

— Kendyll Winn

The MVHS crowd’s energy soared when Berent scored a crucial hit against LAHS, allowing the Spartans to take the lead. However, the momentum did not last as the Eagles were able to score the next point, tying the score again at 23-23.

Despite the Spartans’ block and ensuing point by junior outside hitter Mia Delgo, the Spartans were unable to hold onto their lead. After the teams scored back-and-forth for several serves, leaving them tied at 29-29, the game turned in favor of LAHS after an MVHS serve went out of bounds, allowing the Eagles to take the lead with a score of 30-29.

The Spartans were unable to respond to pressure from the Eagles and missed the next ball, losing the first set 31-29.

When asked what the team could have improved upon during the match, Kendyll Winn said that the Spartans could have started off with a lead in the first set.

“I think it took us like a little while to get momentum,” Kendyll Winn said. “I think if we start with that hunger and fight, then we’re good to go to sweep them.”

LAHS took the first serve of the second set and scored the first point against MVHS.

After back-and-forth scoring throughout the set, MVHS took the lead with the help of Kendyll Winn’s serves and junior middle blocker Ada Tulac’s blocks.

The Spartans held onto their lead of 23-16. After the next serve by Berent, LAHS broke MVHS’s scoring streak after the Spartans failed to connect the ball after a save, making the score 23-17.

The Eagles scored again, reducing the Spartans’ lead to five points with a score of 23-18. MVHS responded by scoring, making the set point 24-18 with the Spartans in position to secure the win.

After a serve by junior outside hitter Addy Kopp, LAHS spiked the ball out of bounds, allowing the Spartans to win the second set with a final score of 25-18.

The third set of the game seemed promising for LAHS; after several rallies between the two teams, the Eagles went on to score three points in a row, putting their team in the lead with a score of 14-11.

The Spartans broke the scoring streak after the Eagles were unable to save a strong hit by Berent, making the score 14-12.

LAHS saved several of MVHS’s ensuing blocks, but the Spartans persevered and tied the score at 14-14 after two more serves.

The Eagles responded with their own block to Kopp’s hit and were able to take the lead with a score of 15-14.

Rallying after several serves, the Spartans took an 18-16 lead after a point scored by Thomander, then a hit by Kopp followed by a tip over the net that put MVHS in the lead with a score of 20-16.

The Spartans held onto their lead, fueled by support from the chanting and cheering MVHS crowd, many of whom were dressed in green and camo apparel for the 6th-man club’s jungle theme, according to the club’s Instagram.
“I think we played with a lot more energy than usual,” senior setter Emma Zhang said. “We were more determined to win.”

LAHS was able to regain some of the points lost, making the score 24-20 near the end of the third set with MVHS in the lead.

Despite the Eagle’s strong defense, the Spartans scored the final point of the third set, winning with a score of 25-20.

The Spartans seemed to stagnate during the fourth set, with LAHS quickly gaining the lead. 

Still, Berent and Kopp were able to make successful hits against the Eagles, bringing the score to 6-4, with LAHS ahead.

The Eagles furthered their lead, maintaining a four point surplus ahead of the Spartans until an MVHS block made the score 21-18, with the LAHS still ahead.

Nearing the end of the set, the MVHS crowd nervously awaited whether or not the Spartans would be able to overcome their deficit in points.

After the Spartans’ serve, LAHS scored back-to-back points, widening their lead to 23-18.

The next play, LAHS hit the ball against the net, giving a point and the next serve to MVHS, making the score 23-19. 

Delgo and Berent managed to secure two more points for the Spartans, making the score 23-21. 

The Eagles continued to fight, scoring again and making their lead 24-21 at the set point. MVHS lost the last ball of the set, and the Eagles took the win with a score of 25-21 in the fourth set.

“[In the] fourth set, we kind of lost our way, we were making a lot of errors,” Dave Winn said. 

Tied with two sets each, the fifth set of the match would determine whether the Spartans or Eagles would take the win.

The Spartans took a strong lead in the fifth set by scoring four consecutive points, two by Berent, making the score 4-0. However, MVHS’s lead did not last, with LAHS’s strong defense helping the Eagles to gain back the points lost.

LAHS was able to tie the score at 8-8, temporarily halting the Spartans’ momentum.

With support from the MVHS crowd chanting “I believe that we will win,” the Spartans took the lead again, making the score 9-8.  

Both teams continued to battle, with MVHS barely maintaining their lead.

With the Spartans ahead at 13-12, Zhang’s serves allowed Berent to score again, bringing the score to 14-12 at the match point. 

Zhang was selected player of the match, according to MaxPreps, for her blocks and her composure during the end of the match.

“Emma, our setter, did a fantastic job,” Dave Winn said. “She had to really work under tough circumstances.”

Scoring the final point of the set, ending with a score of 15-12, MVHS was able to secure the win in their first rivalry match of the season.

Dave Winn said that although the Spartans gave up their 4-0 lead in the fifth set, he was proud of the team for shrugging off their errors and finding a way to win, staying poised even when plays didn’t go according to plan.

“We knew that we had to persevere and fight hard because they were fighting hard, and I think we really showed up,” Kendyll Winn said. “No ball went untouched [and our] effort was 110% at all times.

Dave Winn, Kendyll Winn, and Zhang all agreed that Berent played a key role in the Spartans’ victory.

“She was absolutely destroying every single ball,” Zhang said.

Dave Winn said that Berent was the team’s “hero” in the fifth set, securing hits for MVHS that allowed them to win.

This week, Kendyll Winn was nominated for The Mercury News’ athlete of the week position, according to The Mercury News, after getting 10 aces, 69 digs, 13 assists, and 56 serve receptions for the Spartans at a tournament.

“I’m super happy.” Kendyll Winn said. “Right now I’m in the lead, which is super exciting, because I don’t think a volleyball player has won before.”. 

Looking to the future, Kendyll Winn said that she is excited for a re-match with the Eagles in their next game at MVHS on Oct. 17.

“My goals for this team right now are to make playoffs and beat Los Altos twice,” Kendyll Winn said. “We’re super pumped right now and we’re ready for the next match. Our coach has promised that if we beat Los Altos twice, we’ll get to dye his hair. So we’re really fighting for that.”

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Hanna Olson, Editor-in-Chief
Hanna is a senior and serves as an editor-in-chief (print focus) for the Oracle. Outside of school, she enjoys playing basketball, going to the gym, and going to the beach with friends.
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Ava is a junior and serves as the Web Features editor for the Oracle. Outside of school, she enjoys dance and drawing as well as running hurdles for track.
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