Varsity boys volleyball starts off league with a close win against Palo Alto


Nayeon Kim

Junior outside hitter Aidan Cuppett takes a swing, surrounded by his teammates of the varsity boys volleyball team.

Senior libero Lukas Cielulko lunges for a dive.

The varsity boys volleyball team emerged victorious in their first league game of the season against Palo Alto High School at home last Wednesday, March 8. It was a grueling five set match before the Eagles successfully secured a 3–2 win.

The Eagles’ first set was smooth sailing, keeping a consistent lead. Throughout plays, the front row was successfully able to gain multiple blocks and kills with minor unforced errors. The set score read a clean 25–18.

However, the second set was much more competitive, with both teams unable to start out with a major lead. Points were traded back and forth as the Viking defense was able to pick up more swings from the Eagles. Ultimately, the Eagles lost the set by only two points: 23–25.

Junior Ben Freda Eskenazi (left) and freshman Liam Meyer (right) jumping for a double block.

In the third set, momentum sided with the Eagles once again. Starting off strong with aces from senior setter Ethan Choe, the team was able to keep the early lead as the offensive line took off. Key momentum plays, such as slide kills and stuff blocks from senior middle blocker Tyler Cairns, kept the Eagles in a steady position. The Eagles nearly doubled the Viking’s points, winning another set with a score of 25–14.

Despite the team expecting a simpler victory similar to the first and third set to end the game, they were caught off guard when a reffing mistake occurred early in the fourth set and delayed the match for almost 10 minutes. After the unforeseen break, the Eagles lost their previous momentum, making multiple unforced errors, and were down by eight points at their lowest. The set ended with an Eagles’ loss of 18–25.

These unforced errors, according to Head Coach Peter Kim, were due to a lack of focus.

“We’ve always been trying to have them focus on what’s going on,” Kim said. “We made a lot of errors that were from people not focusing on the game.”

Tied 2–2 in set wins, the Eagles had to play a fifth set to only 15 points — one that determines the outcome of the entire game and also demands absolute focus from the players. 

The Eagles rose to the occasion and displayed a remarkable comeback from the very start of the fifth set. Junior outside hitter Aidan Cuppett started off with a critical kill, signifying the refocusing of the LAHS players. The rest of the set followed in the precedent Aidan set, with junior opposite hitter Sam Cousins coming off the bench with a minor injury to total five kills within the set. Ethan was able to run a dynamic offense with both Aidan and Sam in the front row, winning the fifth set with a decisive score of 15–10.

The starters taking a break during an unforeseen reffing mistake during the fourth set.

Yet this game wasn’t the easy victory the players had anticipated.

“To be honest, I don’t feel too good about [the win],” Ethan said. “This was a team we could’ve beaten 3–0, but we lost focus. I think if we kept it, we could’ve done a better job.”

Other players expressed this sentiment for growth — looking forward and setting goals to achieve as the season progresses.

“We’ve gotten good at struggling together, but now we need to know that we can really succeed,” Sam said. “The next level is when we work like a machine together.”The Los Altos boys volleyball team will be playing again today in an away league game against Saratoga High School.