Volleyball snaps Gunn’s win streak, clinches share of league title

Becca Raffel (14) returns the ball.  Raffel had 10 kills on the night.

Scotty Bara

Becca Raffel (’14) returns the ball. Raffel had 10 kills on the night.

Colin Patterson and James Harrison

The Palo Alto High School volleyball team swept Gunn on Senior Night.  The Vikings won 25-17, 25-19 and 25-18 to end the Titans’ five game win streak and bring the Vikes to a 12-2 league record.

Gunn struck first by jumping out to an early 5-1 lead.  The Vikings trailed the Titans but an offensive surge pulled them even at six.  Kills by outside hitter Becca Raffel (’14) kept the game close.  After a kill by middle blocker Lauren Kerr (’14) the Vikings trailed 11-7.  Once again Paly tied it up at 15 after a kill by Raffel.  Multiple errors proved to be costly as both teams struggled to get the ball over the net.  Another four kills by Raffel led the Vikings to a 10-2 streak as they finished the set 25-17.

The second set started with Gunn taking a quick lead at 5-3.  Paly soon took the lead 8-5, its first lead of the set.  The Vikings continued to trade serves with the Titans as they closed the gap.  Sophia Bono (’13) gave Paly the lead 15-13.  Three kills by Raffel and outside hitter Shelby Knowles (’13) and mistakes on the part of Gunn brought in a steady stream of points for the Vikings, ending the second set with a 25-19 win.

Again the third set started close as the teams kept it to five points each.  An out of bounds ball by Gunn and a block by Anna Dukovic (’15) brought Paly in front 8-5 towards the middle of the set.  Three consecutive points by the Titans tied the game up at eight.  After a tough back and forth battle Paly pulled into the lead thanks to a kill by Raffel and back-to-back mistakes by Gunn, giving the Vikings a 17-11 advantage.  Since Paly touched the net twice the Titans were able to cut the Paly lead down to one.  Paly won the set 25-18 after a 7-1 streak.

Looking at the team’s performance coach David Winn believed that the Vikes gave Gunn a hard match.

“We really just focused on our side of the net tonight,” Winn said. “Our servicing was good, our passing was good, our communication was good and we knew if we did that we would definitely be in the match.  We put a lot of pressure on Gunn to perform and I think we did really well.”

Raffel, who had 10 kills on the night, repeated Winn’s thoughts.

“We played really solidly throughout the match,” Raffel said. “Instead of worrying about beating the other team we just focused on our own side, which we didn’t do against Los Gatos.”

After the win tonight, the Vikings ended the regular season first in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League and the Central Coast Section.  The first game of the playoffs will occur this weekend.