Titans win, Palo Alto falls in volleyball matches at Gunn


Both Gunn and Palo Alto hosted girls volleyball matches at Gunn Thursday night, the Titans overwhelming visiting Tennyson in Titan Gym, 25-13, 25-14, 25-14, and the Vikings dropping a 25-18, 25-19, 21-25, 25-21 decision to defending state Division III champs Valley Christian-San Jose in Bow Gym.

With Paly's gymnasium under construction, the Vikings are using Gunn as a temporary home. The Vikings (0-2) are still looking for their first win after opening against a pair of powerful opponents.

Katie Passarello
“I think we’re still trying to work on our team dynamic. During the third game, we had a lot of energy and that really helped,” Paly's Chelsea Fan said. “When we’re all on and focused, we play really well. Our weakness is that we often are on and off.”

It doesn't much easier for the Vikings, who travel to St. Francis for a nonleague match next Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Titans were busy earning their third win of the season, against four losses, in straight sets.

“I thought our team did a good job of staying consistent against a pretty inexperienced team,” said Emma Munch, Gunn's team captain and libero. “I was super proud that a lot of our younger players stepped up as well.”

Sophomore middle blocker Monica Crichton had a huge game, accumulating 10 kills for the Titans, who play at Leland on Friday night.

“As a team we were really in sync and passed well, which set us up for success,” Crichton said.

The Titans backrow played strong defense and denied any easy points. Gunn took advantage and made huge runs on offense to earn the victory.

“I think that our team’s strength comes from our backrow,” Munch said. “I think that’s where we have the most experience. We don’t necessarily have a young team age wise, but we’re extremely young in experience.”

The only returning players for Gunn are seniors. However, they have a combined 14 juniors and seniors mixed in with a few sophomores and a freshman.

Freshman outside hitter Odeya Russo came in the second set, racking up a kill, an ace and six digs.

“I’m expecting a lot of growth,” said Gunn's outsider hitter Amy Wang, who had four kills and 13 digs. “We've already grown a lot and I'm excited to see how much we can elevate our game.”

Palo Alto is also looking to elevate its game, using a tough nonleague schedule as a springboard.

“I thought we struggled a lot the first two sets,” Vikings coach Jekara Wilson said. “The third set was good; we had a ton of energy.”

Valley Christian opened the match red hot, taking significant leads in the first two sets before Paly rallied to take the third set.

“I think we definitely need to work on serve receive,” Fan said. “We need to talk and make sure we don’t make silly mistakes.”

Last season, the Vikings finished 7-5 in league play, which was good for fourth place in the competitive De Anza Division. Paly graduated a handful of seniors and, despite the early preseason losses, hopes are high for the returners.

“We’ve set ourselves up with a tough preseason schedule to help push ourselves to be the best we can,” said Katie Passarello, a four year varsity player. “We are hoping to win league this season.”

Jessica Lee, a co-captain along with Passarello, agreed.

“We definitely have an advantage in the sense that we have good team chemistry because he majority of the team has played together since last year,” she said. “We have strong players in each position and we work very well together. We are a competitive group who want to win league and go far in CCS and will work hard to get there.”

In other matches, Sacred Heart Prep improved to 6-1 with a 25-21, 16-25, 25-19, 25-13 victory over host Half Moon Bay. Cate Desler and Natalie Zimits combined for 20 kills, while setters Alex Thompson and Haley Martella combined for 33 assists. Thompson added four aces and Caroline Caruso had 16 digs.

Castilleja (2-5) dropped a 25-11, 25-12, 25-15 decision to host Mountain View. Senior libero Elle Kass recorded 16 digs and Sam Gerber had four kills.

Girls tennis

Menlo dropped a 5-2 decision to St. Francis in its season opener Thursday at home.

The Knights picked up victories from sophomore top seed Taylor Gould, who beat Cate Liston 6-3, 6-4, and the team of Ellie Lieberman and Ellen Cho who rolled to a 6-2, 6-1 No.3 doubles win over Meera Bhargarva and Sarah Gao.

Castilleja lost its opener, 4-3, at Carlmont. The Gators swept the doubles matches, getting wins from the duos of Roxy Scott and Simran Sandhu, Sophia Nesamoney andLexi Bundy, and Soline Boussard and Taylor DeGroff.

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