Recap: Boys volleyball defeats Bellarmine, moves onto NorCal finals

Billy+Fan+bumps+the+ball+during+the+Eagles%27+semifinals+matchup+against+the+Bells.+The+Eagles+won+three+sets+to+none%2C+25-15%2C+25-21%2C+25-20.+
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Recap: Boys volleyball defeats Bellarmine, moves onto NorCal finals

Billy Fan bumps the ball during the Eagles' semifinals matchup against the Bells. The Eagles won three sets to none, 25-15, 25-21, 25-20.

Billy Fan bumps the ball during the Eagles' semifinals matchup against the Bells. The Eagles won three sets to none, 25-15, 25-21, 25-20.

Kathy Fang

Billy Fan bumps the ball during the Eagles' semifinals matchup against the Bells. The Eagles won three sets to none, 25-15, 25-21, 25-20.

Kathy Fang

Kathy Fang

Billy Fan bumps the ball during the Eagles' semifinals matchup against the Bells. The Eagles won three sets to none, 25-15, 25-21, 25-20.

by Aditya Singhvi, Sports Editor

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The varsity boys volleyball team defeated the Bellarmine Bells 25-15, 25-21, 25-20 in front of an eager home crowd of about 180 fans last night at the Athletic Center in the semifinals of the NorCal Division 1 playoffs. The team advanced to the NorCal finals, where they are slated to compete against the Monta Vista Matadors at Monta Vista on May 18 at 2 p.m.

The Eagles remained firmly in control the whole game, securing an early 6-1 lead behind hits from Billy Fan (10) and diving saves from Chris Gong (12) that set the tone for the rest of the match. Although Bellarmine rallied to cut the deficit to two points at 16-14, Harker went on a 9-1 run to end the first set 25-15, finishing strong with an ace from Jarett Anderson.

“It felt good [to win]. You get in a rhythm, you get in a groove. We’ve been playing well, we’ve been building on what we’re doing. The opponents get better, but we’ve been keeping it together, so it feels good,” Jeffrey Kwan (11) said.

The second set began competitively, with aggressive hitting from both teams evening the score at 7-7. Facing this pressure, the Eagles went on to score 10 out of the next 13 points to gain a comfortable seven-point cushion, at 17-10. Despite a late comeback, Harker was able to keep Bellarmine at bay and win the second set 25-21.

Throughout the game, the excited home fans supported the two teams, cheering them on.

“It’s cool to see all these people out here, it’s awesome. We don’t get many chances to play Bellarmine, and to have so many people out here and watch this game happen, I’m very glad to be able to be in high school during this,” Zachary Hoffman (12) said.

The final set mirrored the second, with the two teams matching up well at the start and tied 9-9. However, several powerful hits from Jeffrey put the Eagles up 14-10, giving them the momentum that they carried through until the end of the match. The third and final game ended 25-20, punctuated by a hit from Jarett.

“I think all of us played well together as a team,” Billy said. “Bellarmine is very talented individually, but I think we just meshed well better together. I think Charlie [Molin (12)] set a beautiful game, we would be nothing without our setters. It was just a great team effort.”

Looking ahead to Saturday’s matchup against Monta Vista, the team is focused on building on this momentum to bring home the Division 1 championship.

“This is the best we’ve played all season. Bellarmine’s a strong team and we’re getting hot at the right time; this is the best defensive effort we’ve had all season, especially blocking and being able to slow down their attacking. If we play like that, it’s going to be a great final on Saturday,” assistant coach Alexander Jones said.

The matchup at Monta Vista will be at 2 p.m. today. The Matadors are ranked third in the nation, while the Eagles are ranked fourth. The two teams have played each other four times this season, with the Matadors winning three times and the Eagles winning once. A live broadcast of this match can be watched here, and Harker Aquila will be covering it live.

Additional reporting by Anna Vazhaeparambil, Alysa Su, and Kathy Fang.