Varsity boys volleyball defeats Carmel 25-17, 25-21, 25-21 to win CCS Division Two title

May 21, 2023


Margaret Cartee

Co-Captain Tyler Beede (12) holds the CCS plaque and poses with the varsity boys volleyball team. This year marks the third time the varsity boys volleyball team has won CCS.

In the first set of the championship game, Harker and Carmel started out even, each side earning kills and placing tips until 9-9, when the Eagles blocked two swings in a row, causing Carmel to falter and call a timeout at 13-9. Harker continued to control the set, with multiple kills by co-captain and outside hitter Zachary Blue (11) and opposite hitter Spencer Mak (11) forcing a Carmel timeout at 21-14. The Eagles finished the match with energy, racking up more kills and blocks against Carmel before the set ended at 25-17.

“After […] we were hitting out a lot or getting blocked a ton, our coach talked to us about swinging towards the edges,” Spencer said. “After that, we had a lot of hits that were at the edges, and that was something to be really proud of.”

Carmel started the second set with the serve, but quickly lost their footing after kills from middle blocker Rahul Yalla (10) and Spencer, which brought the score to 6-2. After a series of missed serves and hitting errors from the Eagles, the Padres began catching up, putting more pressure at the net and challenging Harker’s defense with powerful jump topspin serves. At 12-12, Harker called a timeout and began regaining momentum, but the score still remained close. After a block from setter Adrian Liu (11) at 19-18, Carmel called a timeout. Harker closed the match 25-21 with three blocks and two kills, silencing Carmel’s crowd going into the third set.

The Eagles dominated the final set, with outside hitter Aaron Guo (10) stacking up two kills and a stuff block early on in the match. The Padres called a timeout at 6-1, but the Eagles continued to bombard them with more kills, four from Zachary and three from Aaron. At 17-8, the Padres started catching up, earning a kill and a block, so Harker responded with a timeout at 17-11. Carmel continued earning points with a strong server; however, Zachary ended their streak with a kill, causing the Padres to call a timeout at 20-15. Carmel fought back and scored multiple kills, but ultimately, the Eagles took the final set, sealing the championship game 25-21 with a kill from Aaron. Head Coach Zachary Mattson congratulated the team on winning and praised their performance this season.

“These boys really stepped into the roles and stepped up big time to be able to come together as a whole as a team and as individuals,” Mattson said.

After the game, the team received the CCS Division Two plaque and celebrated the win by taking photos together with their medals. Previously, the team won CCS in 2019 and 2021, both times in Division Three.

“First of all, Tyler, Aaron, Carlo and Johnny — we’re going to miss you a lot,” Spencer said. “I honestly don’t know what we’d do without them; they bring so much energy on the court and on the bench as well. And honestly, [this was] one of the best seasons ever.”

The varsity boys volleyball team lost their away game against Bishop O’Dowd High School in Round One of the Northern California championships on May 16 19-25, 19-25, 23-25.

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