The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

Winged Post

Varsity girls volleyball conquers Scotts Valley three sets to none in home opener

Kevin Zhang
Outside hitter Elie Ahluwalia (10) tips the ball over the block of Scotts Valley. Players switched between swinging and tipping in order to take advantage of openings in the opponent’s defense.

Varsity girls volleyball triumphed over Scotts Valley High School in the Eagles’ home opener on Thursday, winning three consecutive sets 25-22, 25-21 and 25-18.

Scotts Valley scored the first point of the match, but a few minutes later defensive specialist Aline Grinspan (10) served an ace to bring the score to 5-2 favoring Harker. Co-captain Juhi Madala (12) scored an electric kill that ignited cheers from the crowd, putting the score at 16-16. With the game down to the wire, libero Norah Mehanna (11) served an ace to boost Harker one step closer to a win, and outside hitter Elie Ahluwalia (10) closed with a kill to secure the first set for Harker 25-22.

Harker and Scotts Valley matched each other’s performance to start the second set, tied at 6-6 until Scotts Valley bested Harker in a tense back and forth rally that fired up spectators. Both teams continued exchanging points, bringing the score to 10-10, but then the Scotts Valley Falcons went on a three point scoring run. The Eagles fought back, earning an ace narrowly landing in bounds for a 23-19 lead. With a final missed serve from the Falcons, the Eagles took the win in the second set 25-21.

Varsity girls volleyball head coach Theresa “Smitty” Smith complimented the team’s tenacity and grit displayed in game as well as during practices that helped them prepare for this game.

“This is a really fun team, and there’s a lot of hidden gems amongst our group where we have some potential to do well,” Coach Smitty said. “I really like this team because they don’t give up, they don’t quit, they always feel like they’re in it and they always battle. The game of volleyball goes up and down, so if you can stay steady and stay in it, you can often pull out [the win].” 

Not long into the third and final set of the match, the game was delayed due to a mistake in Scotts Valley’s player serving rotation. The officials quickly resolved the confusion and the game resumed. Hoping to win in three sets, Harker came out strong with an early 8-4 lead. Harker expanded the gap as an ace from co-captain Margaret Cartee (12) brought the score to 16-9, and the Eagles ultimately won their third consecutive set at 25-18.

“We started off pretty slow but toward the end we picked it up, and it was definitely evident in set scores,” outside hitter Navya Samuel (11) said. “We were a lot closer in the first set, and then we widened the gap as the game went on.”

With the first home game victory of the school year, libero Norah Mehanna (11) comments on what excites her going forward through the rest of season.

“[I’m looking forward to] playing more competitive teams and going out and throwing it all out there,” Norah said. “This team this year… we’re ready to dominate.”

The Eagles are currently 4-3 for the season and will play at Eastside College Preparatory next on Thursday at 5 p.m.

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About the Contributor
Kevin Zhang
Kevin Zhang, Aquila Co-Managing Editor
Kevin Zhang (12) is a co-managing editor for Harker Aquila, and this is his third year on staff. This year, Kevin hopes to expand the scope of sports content and collaborate with more staff members in journalism. In his free time, Kevin enjoys playing basketball, pursuing photography and drawing in pencil (he finds shading particularly satisfying).

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