Live Coverage: Boys volleyball takes on Monta Vista in NorCal finals


Kathy Fang

Charlie Molin (12) saves a ball near the net during the third set, which the Eagles won 25-19 to give them a 2-1 lead in the match.

by Aditya Singhvi, Anna Vazhaeparambil, and Shreya Srinivasan

Monta Vista has won the Division 1 NorCal championship to defend their title 22-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-19, 15-13. Be sure to catch our game recap, coming soon to Harker Aquila.

4:14 p.m. The CIF Norcal Division awarded Jeffery with the Pursuing Victory with Honor award, and CIF NorCal runner-up medals were presented to Eagles’ players and coaches. Coach Chad Gordon also received a team plaque commemorating the season. This is the conclusion of a historically successful season for the Eagles, who ended up ranked fourth in the nation.

4:07 p.m. It was a hard-fought point, but Monta Vista wins the last set 15-13 off a powerful hit that the Eagles were unable to get to. The Matadors have won the Division 1 NorCal championship again, defending their title.

4:06 p.m. It is match point at 14-13 in favor of Monta Vista as the Eagles call a timeout.

4:05 p.m. A hit from Charlie and diving saves from the Eagles put them up 13-12.

4:02 p.m. An out from Harker has allowed Monta Vista to tie the game at 11-11.

4 p.m. The Matadors are unable to save another hit from Jarett and the Eagles are up 11-9. Monta Vista has called a timeout.

3:57 p.m. A pair of hits from Jarett and a hit from Billy has brought the score to 7-7.

3:55 p.m. This set has been very physical, with both teams diving all over the floor. The Matadors are up 6-4 and the Eagles call a timeout.

3:53 p.m. A kill from Charlie, an out from Monta Vista, and a tip have put the Eagles up 3-2.

3:52 p.m. The crowd is on their feet in anticipation of the decisive fifth set, which will determine the NorCal Division 1 champion.

3:48 p.m. The Matadors have won the second set 25-19. After gaining an early lead, the Eagles were unable to come back and ended up dropping the set.

3:47 p.m. The Matadors have called a timeout, with the scoreboard reading 23-18 in favor of Monta Vista.

3:45 p.m. Monta Vista has gone up 23-17 behind several powerful hits that the Eagles were unable to save.

3:41 p.m. Despite strategic tips at the net by the Eagles, Monta Vista has kept their lead at 20-14. The Eagles are going to have to spark a considerable comeback here to win this set.

3:39 p.m. The Eagles call a timeout as Monta Vista has maintained their lead at 16-11.

3:35 p.m. Several strong Matador hits have put Monta Vista up 13-9.

Anna Vazhaeparambil
Jeffrey and Liam celebrate after winning a point during the third set.
Anna Vazhaeparambil
Jeffrey bumps the ball during the third set against Monta Vista, which the Eagles won 25-19.

3:31 p.m. A bad serve from the Matadors and a block from Liam and Charlie has tied the game at 7-7.

3:29 p.m. Monta Vista has jumped out to an early lead, with aggressive hitting and a few mistakes from the Eagles allowing them to go up 5-2.

3:28 p.m. The fourth set has begun, with the Matadors determined to tie the game. The Eagles hold a 2-1 lead, and they look to finish up the championship match in four sets.

Kathy Fang
Chris Gong (12) dives to get to a hit from the Matadors during the third set. With a few excellent saves from Chris, the Eagles were able to come out of a timeout late in the third set and build a lead.
Kathy Fang
Charlie Molin (12) saves a ball near the net during the third set, which the Eagles won 25-19 to give them a 2-1 lead in the match.

3:23 p.m. Monta Vista hits the ball out, and the Eagles clamp down to win the third set 25-19.

3:23 p.m. A hit from Jeffrey has the scoreboard at 24-19, with the game on the line.

3:22 p.m. A block from Jarett and Liam has put the Eagles up 23-18.

3:19 p.m. Coming out of the Eagle timeout, a few excellent saves from Chris have put the Eagles up 21-18.

3:17 p.m. Harker has done well coming out of the break, with a powerful hit from Jarett tying the score at 16-16.

3:14 p.m. The Eagles call a timeout at the Matadors have gone on another run to go up by two points, 15-13.

Anna Vazhaeparambil
Vishnu Kannan (9) celebrates a point during the second set.
Billy Fan serves during the second set against Monta Vista.

3:11 p.m. This third set has mirrored the first two so far, with neither team able to gain a significant advantage. The score is at 13-11, in favor of the Eagles.

3:08 p.m.  There has been some aggressive hitting from Jeffrey and the rest of the team so far, but several blocks from the Matadors have evened the score at 9-9.

Kathy Fang
Billy Fan (10) sets the ball during the second game, which the Eagles lost 25-22.
Kathy Fang
Jeffrey Kwan (11) prepares to bump the ball during the second set against Monta Vista.

3:04 p.m. The third set has now begun, with both teams determined to gain the critical 2-1 lead. The score is even at 3-3.

2:57 p.m. The Eagles have dropped the second set 25-23. Although they built a considerable 21-17 lead, Monta Vista hit aggressively and managed to steal the game.

2:55 p.m. Game point for the Matadors at 24-22, and the Eagles have called another timeout to try and rebound from Monta Vista’s scoring run.

2:53 p.m. Monta Vista has been relentless, saving several powerful hits from the Eagles to go up 23-22.

2:51 p.m. Monta Vista has scored four straight coming out of the break, and the score now stands at 21-21 despite strong saves from Chris. The Eagles have called a timeout.

2:48 p.m. A kill from Billy has put the Eagles up 21-17, and the Matadors are forced to call a timeout as they look to spark a comeback.

2:46 p.m. The Matadors have tried to close the gap, but Harker has kept them at bay with the score still at 18-16, in favor of the Eagles.

2:41 p.m. Several blocks from Brian and Billy have earned the Eagles three points of separation, with the score now at 13-10.

The crowd cheers after the Eagles clinch the first set 25-22.

2:37 p.m. Another close game is underway, with the score tied at 7-7.

Kathy Fang

2:35 p.m. The second set is now underway, with the Eagles starting off well with a small 4-2 lead.

2:29 p.m. Behind a mistake from Monta Vista, the Eagles have clutched the first set 25-22. 

2:27 p.m. Although the Matadors went up two at 22-20, the Eagles have gone on another run behind strong team play to get a one-point lead at 23-22. The Matadors have called another timeout to try and get the momentum back.

Anna Vazhaeparambil
Billy Fan reaches for a ball in the first set.

2:25 p.m. The Eagles have come out hard after the timeout with a three-point run, with the set now tied 20-20.

2:23 p.m. A run by the Matadors has put them up 20-17, as the Eagles call a timeout.

2:21 p.m. A nail-biting set so far, with both teams matching each other point-for-point. Several smart tips from Harker has given the Eagles a one-point lead, at 16-15.

2:18 p.m. With another hit from Jeffrey, the Eagles have tied the game 12-12.

2:16 p.m. Although the Eagles have played well to stay in the game, with some diving saves by Chris, the Matador’s aggressive hitting has given them a 10-8 lead.

2:14 p.m. This has been an aggressive game so far, with both sides hitting well. The score is tied at 7-7.

2:11 p.m. With a pair of hits from Jarett and a block at the net from Billy, and a kill from Billy the Eagles are up 4-1.

2:09 p.m. Following a performance of the “Star-Spangled Banner” by the Monta Vista choir, the teams are huddled up and the action is set to begin.

2:04 p.m. Starting lineups have been announced, with Jeffery Kwan (11), Liam Bakar (11), Chris Gong (12), Billy Fan (10), Brian Pinkston (10), Charlie Molin (12) and Jarett Anderson (12) starting for the Eagles.

1:58 p.m. With only five minutes left before the first serve, the teams are lining up on the endline. A crowd of about 200 is in attendance here at Monta Vista to cheer on the two teams, with more trickling in.

“We just hope for a good, competitive match. They’re very fortunate and they’ve earned their way and they’ve earned this position to be playing in the final game. I know that they’re excited and so are we,” athletic director Dan Molin said.

The team lines up on the endline ahead of today’s 2 p.m. game. The starters for the Eagles are Jeffery Kwan (11), Liam Bakar (11), Chris Gong (12), Billy Fan (10), Brian Pinkston (10), Charlie Molin (12) and Jarett Anderson (12).

1:45 p.m. With 15 minutes before the game begins, warmups are underway as the two teams look to get loose before the championship matchup. This match will determine the NorCal champion.

Anna Vazhaeparambil
David Feng (11) and Jason Pan (11) warm up ahead of the 2 p.m. matchup in the NorCal finals against Monta Vista. The Matadors are ranked third in the nation while the Eagles are ranked fourth.

12:55 p.m. The boys’ volleyball team (34-5) are slated to take on defending champions Monta Vista Matadors (35-3) in the Division 1 NorCal tournament finals at 2 p.m. today at Monta Vista High School.

These two teams know each other well, having competed four times this season. The Matadors have won three of those four matches, although each has been hotly contested.

The Eagles are coming off a convincing 25-15, 25-21, 25-20 win over Bellarmine in the semifinal round on Thursday, and hope to ride this momentum to a NorCal Division 1 trophy. Harker went to the Division 2 finals last year, losing to Amador Valley 3-2. This year, having won the CCS Division 3 title against Carmel, they compete in Divison 1 of NorCals. This has been a historically successful season for the Eagles, who are currently ranked fourth in both the nation and the state according to MaxPreps.

“This is the best we’ve played all season. This is the best defensive effort we’ve had all season, especially blocking and being able to slow down their attacking,” assistant coach Alexander Jones said following the match on Thursday. “If we play like that, it’s going to be a great final on Saturday.”

Harker’s full roster can be viewed here and Monta Vista’s here. Keep checking this link for live coverage of the pivotal playoff match.

Additional reporting by Anna Vazhaeparambil and Kathy Fang. 

2019 CIF NorCal Boys Volleyball Championships Division I