All year long, Palo Alto girls volleyball coach Jekera Wilson knew this team was special and the Vikings have not let her down. By virtue of its relentless 25-18, 25-22, 25-16 victory over SCVAL DeAnza Division rival Los Altos on Wednesday night, Paly has the chance to place an exclamation mark on its best season in years.
The top-seeded Vikings (23-9) advance to Saturday's 2:30 p.m. Central Coast Section Division I final at Independence High in San Jose, where they will meet another SCVAL rival in Los Gatos, which tied with the Eagles for second in the De Anza Division.
"The momentum from this game will definitely impact our energy for the next game," Paly junior outside hitter Chelsea Fan said. "We are playing Los Gatos, one of our toughest competitors, so we're hoping for a lot of fans to come watch and cheer us on."
The Vikings put on a good show, with a talented, diversified group of athletes.
"What really helped our team achieve this victory was our preparation," sophomore middle blocker Siena Brewster said. "Having lost to them in league didn't bring us down, it made us more focused and driven to really put our best foot forward this evening. Our team has prepared for this opportunity and we were not going to let it slip through our hands."
During the first set, the Vikings and the Eagles started by playing a game of back and through. Midway through, everything clicked for Palo Alto, which made a run to take the set, 25-18.
"The momentum of the first set set the tempo for the rest of the match," Fan said. "We started strong and continued our energy and consistency throughout the match."
The way the first set went was the story of the entire game. The Vikings went on a tear, going on runs to establish control. They have yet to drop a single set in the CCS tournament.
With many seniors playing key roles, the Vikings are looking for their first CCS title since 2011, when they went on to capture their second of two straight state titles.
"For our upcoming game not only are our goals to win, but to work hard doing so," Brewster said. "This means high energy, loads of communication, a positive attitude, smart plays, and this team using their raw talent to exceed expectations. The opportunity our team has is an amazing one, we plan on keeping that in our minds through the rest of the season to take advantage of it and finish the season off with a bang."