Volleyball fell to the Los Gatos High School Wildcats 0-3 on Saturday, November 10, in the CCS quarterfinals. After beating Sobrato High School 3-0 earlier this week to advance, the Eagles stayed with Los Gatos in every set and fought till the end of the match.
The Eagles routed the Wildcats earlier this season at home, and head coach Peter Kim said that he expected Los Gatos to come out hard.
“We were expecting them to come out and play like they did,” Kim said. “Last time, they came to our place and we beat them pretty badly. I knew that they were going to come in and they were going to be very fired up and focused. We expected it. They’re a good team, and they don’t make errors.”
Los Gatos came out strong in the first set, taking an early 14-6 lead. The Eagles were able to rally behind strong service from junior Meghan McDermott to cut the deficit; however, the Wildcats’ senior Riana Brennan blasted three kills late in the set to silence the comeback and take the set 25-16. Brennan has the top kills-per-set ratio in the state of California, and continued to be a force for the rest of the night.
“We’ve won against big hitters all year, but what separates her is that she does not make errors,” Kim said. “She does not make errors, she’s a smart player, and she doesn’t hurt herself. She puts the ball where nobody’s at, and she delivers it with a lot of force.”
The Eagles came out swinging in the second half, rallying behind strong net play by senior Natalie Dwulet to take an early 3-0 lead. Los Gatos’ Riana responded with power, slamming a few kills to propel the Wildcats to a 9-5 lead.
Riana and the Wildcats seemed unstoppable at the net, but the Eagles refused to back down. Sophomore Carmen Annevelink matched Riana’s power at the net with a few huge kills, putting Los Altos within two points of Los Gatos and bringing the score to 10-8. However, two unlucky breaks at the net turned momentum back in the Wildcats’ favor, and the Eagles couldn’t recover. Los Gatos took the second set 25-16.
From the opening points, it was clear that the third set would be a battle. The Eagles took a 3-1 lead early, and relied on Carmen’s power at the net to keep a lead as they brought the score to 9-8. Los Gatos wouldn’t have it though, and after taking a 12-9 lead, the Wildcats wouldn’t let the Eagles back within striking distance. Late in the third set with the score at 21-15, Los Altos began to mount a comeback; however, Riana shut down the attempt with two more kills, and Los Gatos took the set 25-21.
Kim highlighted the play of sophomore Carmen Annevelink and co-captains junior Hanna Koehler and senior Natalie Dwulet for their determination throughout the night.
“[Natalie and Hanna] lead by example and they did it today,” Kim said. “They wouldn’t let the girls quit when they weren’t doing really well. That’s something that I look for in a captain, is someone who’s not going to quit and lead the girls.”
As a fairly young team, the Eagles are looking to next season with high hopes. Kim believes that the team will be at the top of its league and CCS next year.
“Next year, we should be favored to be one of the teams to win leagues,” Kim said. “I think we’ve definitely put ourselves to be one of the top public school programs in CCS next year.”