Girls Volleyball Team Prepares for 2019 Season


Grace Thayer (‘20) spikes the ball onto the opposing team’s court.

There was a heavy weight on the girls’ shoulders as they walked off the court against Buchanan High School when they realized their season was over. No one expected to see the team bounce back on the bus ride home the way they did. 

Even coming off of hard losses in both CCS and Norcal, the Girls Volleyball team did not let it get to their heads. The girls were not thinking about the fact that they had lost. Instead, they were focused on how, for the first time in the team’s history, they had been selected to play in the CCS Open Division against the best teams in all of California. Better yet, they were thinking about the win they had managed to pull off in the first round.

“Even on the bus ride back from the game we were laughing and having fun with each other as though we had just won,” player Amelia Gibbs (‘20) said. “That’s just what our team culture is like.”

Reflecting back on what happened during their final loss of the season, Grace Thayer (‘20) said the “girls just outplayed us. They were smarter volleyball-wise, more athletic, and we just haven’t been playing that high of competition.”

We just weren’t ready to walk into that gym with the right mindset that we needed to in order to win that game

— Grace Thayer


Being seriously outmatched in a game can be devastating to players, but it’s a daunting challenge to be the coach tasked with ensuring that the team does not suffer the same fate. That is exactly the challenge facing Coach Chris Crader, a 30 year veteran of high school volleyball who left Carlmont’s team in May to come coach the Lady Vikes. He described the team’s overarching goal for the year: “As a first year coach, I walked into a great amount of talented and wonderful players. If we can be the most improved team in CCS that would be really good.”

With five new players on the roster and a brand new coach, the girls are getting ready for what should be another great season. One fresh face on the court is Jess Watanabe (‘23), who just joined the team as the third libero in the lineup.

While the position she plays is filled by older, more experienced teammates, Coach Crader had nothing but praise for her. “As we kept going through tryouts, she just kept playing great,” Crader said. “It became impossible for us to do anything except keep her.”

More players to look out for are setters Kylie Mies (‘21), Hillary Cheung (‘22), and Hailey Callan (‘22), who Gibbs says are “the play-makers and the glue of our team.”

In all, this team is preparing to follow up on their spectacular run from last year where they went 11-1 as the best team in SCVAL. You can follow their season starting with their first game on September 3rd at Valley Christian, and their first home game against Archbishop Mitty on September 5th.

Notable games coming up include home games against Los Gatos on October 15th and our crosstown rivals Gunn High School on October 24th.