Palo Alto High School volleyball advances to CCS semifinals with three game win


Gracie Marshall

The wake up call rang loud and clear for the Palo Alto High School volleyball team, which overcame a nervous first game to sweep Monta Vista in the first round of the Central Coast Section (CCS) playoffs on Saturday at Valley Christian High School.

Paly (35-1) twice found itself facing game point in the opening game, but buckled down to avoid the scare, winning 27-25.

The Lady Vikes, who had a bye in round one, went on to dominate games two and three, 25-10 and 25-11.

“No matter what seed you are, you could lose [at any time],” Paly head coach Dave Winn said. “There’s no flying under the radar any more.”

The teams had already played twice during the regular season; Paly won both matches in three games.

“We’ve played them twice before, so we know they are good, we know their strengths,” Monta Vista head coach Colin Anderson said. “Palo Alto came out strong in games two and three and we didn’t maintain a strong level of play.”

Paly turned to middle blocker Melanie Wade (’12), who had four kills early in game two to help open up a 9-2 lead. She finished with 17 kills and four blocks.

“We played like two different teams,” Paly defensive specialist Shelby Knowles said. “But we stepped up the intensity and we were more aggressive, we were smarter and started to mix up our shots.”

Paly will play in the CCS semifinals against No. 5 Carlmont (21-13) on Thursday in Watsonville.

Game Notes:

Before the game, Coach Winn was recognized as a winner of the 2010 CCS Fall Sports Honor Coaches Award. The award is decided upon by fellow coaches.

“It’s granted by my peers, so I’m very proud,” Winn said. “It means they think I’m doing good things.”