Varsity girls volleyball team loses to Westmont High School in close five-set game


Shareen Chahal

Norah Mehanna (10) crouches to return the opponent’s serve at the varsity girls volleyball game against Westmont High School on Sept. 15. The girls lost in a close five-set game.

by Shareen Chahal, Reporter

The varsity girls volleyball team fell to Westmont High School on Sept. 15 at home 21-25, 25-19, 20-25, 25-12 and 7-15.

The Eagles began the first set with a strong lead and initially pulled ahead with an assertive spike from Jessica Tang (12). After multiple long rallies and impressive plays from both teams, Westmont narrowed the difference near the end of the set to 20-17. After Westmont called a time-out, they surpassed the Eagles in the last quarter, ending the set with the score 21-25.

In the second set, the Eagles immediately set the score to 2-0 after close teamwork from Rachel Ning (12) and Emily Mitnick (10), consecutively setting and spiking the ball. Juhi Madala (11) and Keira Chang (9) boosted their lead through multiple power serves and helped the team further widen their forefront for the rest of the set, winning 25-19.

“I’m very proud of how all of us played,” player Juhi Madala (11) said. “We hit a few serve receive ruts [where we had difficulty with returning opponent serves], but I think we put up a very good fight and made up for the points lost.”

The third set started off with another point lead, and the Eagles kept up the pace through multiple ace serves and defensive blocks. After the timeout called by Harker, however, Westmont closed the gap and overtook the Eagles in a series of 6 points, bringing the score to 20-25.

The Eagles once again dominated at the beginning of the fourth set and maintained their lead throughout the entire set. The team performed well in their serves and spikes and ended the set with a score of 25-12.

In the tie-breaking fifth set, the two teams rallied back and forth and were head-to-head in score. Westmont gained a more substantial lead after a timeout, leaving the Eagles defeated 7-15 after a close match.

“I’m really glad to play with the people I’m playing with, and I’m having so much fun on the court with them,” Juhi said. “So, even though losing was a blow, I view the match as a testament to how far we’ve gotten and how far we have to go.”

After the game, varsity volleyball coach Rick Riebhoff reflected on the efforts of the team and looks forward to watching the players grow in the future.

“We battled, but kind of shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times,” Rieboff said. “We couldn’t manage to sustain the momentum that we had in set four into the final set, which is too bad because we did some really good things in that fourth set.”