Palo Alto High School's sports news magazine

Viking Magazine

Palo Alto High School's sports news magazine

Viking Magazine

Palo Alto High School's sports news magazine

Viking Magazine

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Girls Underclassman of the Year

Freshman Maura Hambly has made her presence on the Paly girls volleyball team known. This year, Hambly was awarded Viking’s underclassman of the year.

Throughout an impressive first season on the girls volleyball team, freshman Maura Hambly showcased her passion, in-game IQ, competitiveness, and skill. In addition to her SCVAL league MVP and first team all league selection, Hambly has earned the honor of Viking girls Underclassman of the Year. 

Despite losing seven players (including four starters) from a 17-15 season the year prior, the team was able to improve to a 27-6 overall record. Head coach Chris Crader credits Hambly as an important part of the team’s success. 

“Having Maura come in was a significant part of our turnaround,” Crader said. “She is a really well-rounded player with a high volleyball IQ. Maura just makes so many great plays in a row, in all aspects of the game, and it adds up to lots and lots of wins.”

Credit of Amanda Goody and Scarlett Frick

Hambly’s stats speak for themselves, as she finished the season with 276 kills, ranking 24th in the Central Coast Section (A kill is awarded to a player any time their attack leads directly to a point scored). She recorded her season high with 18 kills this season against both Mountain View and Los Altos respectively. 

However to Crader, Hambly’s in-game success isn’t the only quality that made her a standout player. 

“She shows up to practice every day, ready to work hard, and ready to compete – and that can rub off on your teammates too, and inspire them to give their best every day,” Crader said.

Crader also highlights how Hambly’s mentality extends into practice. 

“She is extremely competitive,” Crader said. “It seemed like, no matter what the drill was, and no matter which other girls were on her side, Maura’s team won nearly every drill in practice when we kept score.”

This competitiveness allowed Hambly to continue to grow her skills as a player. “She [Hambly] added variety to her hitting, became a more consistent passer, and continued to learn what she needed to do to beat girls who were all two-to-three years older than her,” Crader said.

“Maura Hambly is the total package as an athlete”

— - Coach Crader

Sophomore teammate, Reese Japic, moved from Texas to Palo Alto last summer and joined the Paly volleyball team, where she met Hambly. 

“What makes Maura stand out to me is her great attitude and fearlessness on the court as a freshman playing with and against mostly upperclassmen,” Japic said. “She is a very technical player and is great at knowing just what to do in a specific moment to get us the point.”

Throughout the season, Hambly has maintained existing relationships and created lasting connections with new teammates. 

“For me, coming in as a new player was relatively easy mostly because I already knew the coach and a few of my teammates,” Hambly said. “However, my relationships with my other teammates grew significantly as the year went on.” 

Hambly acknowledges these teammates as a major part of her success, along with help from coaches. 

“Receiving this award shows not necessarily my abilities on the volleyball court but all the work my teammates and coaches put in this season to help me and our team get to where we were,” Hambly said.  

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About the Contributor
Amanda Goody, Staff Writer
Hi! I am Amanda Goody, a sophomore and a new writer for the Viking 2023-2024 staff. I play for the girls Waterpolo team and participate on the girls Swim and Dive team. I have been swimming since I was five years old and playing waterpolo for as long as I can remember!

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