From the looks of Terra Nova and Mills’ respective volleyball teams’ postgame powwows yesterday, it seemed the outcome was the opposite of what it actually was.
Terra Nova won a five-set thriller at Mills — 25-17, 25-15, 19-25, 16-25, 15-12 — but despite the score, Mills was all smiles following the loss, while Terra Nova head coach Craig Dillie was admittedly upset with his team’s performance.
The Tigers went up early with convincing wins in the first two games, hitting the court with authority that proved too fast and too strong from the young Vikings squad. After Terra Nova subbed in some bench players in Game 3 though, Mills caught a spark of momentum and almost pulled off the comeback of the year.
“The girls stopped moving their feet,” Dillie said. “They thought it would be an easy third game. They thought it would be easier than it was.”
Terra Nova junior Ali Vidali was consistently outstanding throughout, tabbing a match-high 30 kills. But the third-year varsity starter moved to the backline in the pivotal Game 3, and despite reliable digs in an unfamiliar role, Terra Nova could not slam the door Mills.
The Vikings were noticeably lackadaisical early on, totaling just four service points in Game 1. In Game 2 though, middle hitter Pricilla Young provided a much-needed spark. Young totaled 18 match kills, and dazzled at net with eight blocks.
In the decisive Game 5, the lead changed hands five times, with Mills taking a late lead 12-11 after a net violation by Terra Nova. The Tigers responded with four straight points though, including Vidali hammering a kill through the middle to give her team a 13-12 lead, before she ultimately scored the match point by finessing a lob over Mills’ front row to end it.
Even with Mills taking two games, the young squad couldn’t seem to avoid volleying to Terra Nova’s best player, Vidali.
“They’re learning how to read the game still,” Mills head coach Polly Wiard said. “I have sophomores on the court [along with one junior and one senior]. I think with more experience you find your ability to play, and you have the confidence to do it.”
Despite featuring a solid starting eight, Mills is still trying to find the right chemistry. Wiard used 12 players yesterday. The match was the first five-game performance of the season for Terra Nova.
Other Ocean action
Sequoia (3-0, 11-4) downed Jefferson (0-3) in straight sets – 25-5, 25-7, 25-11. With Cherokees senior Joy Robinson still out of action with a hamstring injury, her younger sister Leanne Robinson stepped up with a match-high 10 kills. Junior setter Angela Hudelson had 25 assists and four aces.
Westmoor (2-1, 11-10) swept Capuchino (1-2, 4-6) – 25-16, 25-11, 25-21. Rams senior Michelle Kong had a match-high 10 kills, and junior Roni Nievera notched 17 assists. Westmoor is coming off a rough outing at Saturday’s Cupertino tournament, in which the Rams posted a 1-4 record. Earlier in the season, they had strong showings in a pair of tourneys, posting a 3-1 record at the NorCal Tournament, and a 3-2 record at the Carmichael Tournament.
“We just played in the Cupertino Tournament … and it kind of humbled us,” Westmoor head coach Rex Mauga-Head said. “So hopefully that will motivate us for the rest of the season.”
Half Moon Bay (3-0, 7-6) remained unbeaten in league, edging El Camino (0-3, 0-4) in straight sets – 28-26, 25-23, 25-20. In Game 1, the Cougars trailed by eight, but rallied back behind the net play of senior McKenna Crofton. Freshman Hailey Merkes paced Half Moon Bay with 13 kills and 15 digs.
Bay Division results
Carlmont (3-0, 10-5) downed Burlingame (1-2, 9-6) in four sets – 25-15, 21-25, 25-18, 25-17. Scots senior Ella McDonough paced her team with 14 kills, while senior Amelia Tupou tallied 38 assists and 16 digs. Sophomore Alexis Morrow had career highs in kills (8) and blocks (10).
“I thought we played really,” said Carlmont coach Chris Crader.
Menlo-Atherton (3-0, 9-3) remained unbeaten in league, sweeping South San Francisco – 25-13, 25-14, 25-22. M-A senior Pauli King tabbed 12 match kills, while Kirby Knapp totaled 24 assists.