Given the suspension of athletics in the county, the Daily Journal decided to dive into our 20-year archives to bring readers some of our favorite stories over the years.
OCT. 1, 2014 — On the Mills gymnasium hangs a handmade sign reading, “Do it for Nabeela.”
The sign is a tribute to the Vikings' senior setter Nabeela Rizvi, who suffered an ACL injury in the second week of the season. With Rivzi likely lost for the year, junior Emily Huang has settled in at starting setter to help Mills to an undefeated start in Peninsula Athletic League Ocean Division play.
The Vikings (3-0 in PAL Ocean, 9-4 overall) swept Half Moon Bay (2-1, 7-9) at Mills, 25-18, 25-21, 26-24.
“With Nabeela, we were able to run plays and we haven’t gotten there yet to have it consistent,” Mills head coach Polly Wiard said. “But every game she’s getting better.”
The staple of the Mills lineup, though, is outside hitter Adrienne Lee. The junior admittedly got off to a slow start Tuesday, but caught fire in Game 2 with eight of her match-high 15 kills.
The injury to Rivzi has caused Mills to minimize its playbook until the junior Huang can get up to varsity speed. Huang and Rivzi had been splitting time prior to the injury. Since PAL Ocean Division started last week though, setting duties have fallen squarely on the shoulders of Huang.
“It was hard for the team because [Rivzi] is a leader,” Lee said. “But our other setter ... has really stepped up.”
Huang gave merit to that compliment with the first service of Tuesday’s game as she fired an ace, high into Half Moon Bay’s serve receive, in the backcourt. The left-hander went on a four-point service run to start the match while adding her second ace in the process. Half Moon Bay never recovered from the slow start, trailing the entirety of the opening two sets.
The falter at the outset defined the tone of the game, as it has been for the team the entire season, according to Half Moon Bay head coach Ryan Havice.
“If we get a point, we’re all high and happy,” Havice said. “But if we lose a point, we hang our heads.”
Half Moon Bay gave quite a performance at net, with Ally Longaker and Mia Cordes tabbing six blocks apiece. But the Cougars couldn’t muster any momentum. There were several junctures of the match when it seemed they might stage a comeback. In Game 2, the score was deadlocked three times including as late as 19-19. But Half Moon Bay never gained an advantage. And Lee scored a kill at middle net to give the Vikings the lead for good.
The match did not lack for exciting rallies though. Half Moon Bay saw some of the longest rallies of its season, according to Havice. For Mills though, scrapping together a defensive approach to prolong rallies is the team's bread-and-butter.
“I think our team is based off defense,” Lee said. “We'’e really good at getting balls up and we’re really scrappy. I think that’s what our team relies on.”
In Game 3, Half Moon Bay finally grabbed its first lead, but had to rally from behind to do so. Mills committed nine hitting errors in the set to open the door and Cougars outside hitter Hailey Merkes stepped up to give her team the lead. The junior tabbed 10 service points in the set. Mills held on though and with the game tied 22-22, Vikings sophomore Rachel Leung smoked a kill from middle net to give her team a decisive edge.
“I think this team is getting there, for sure,” Wiard said. “We’ve been drilling them a lot on passing and coverage and blocks on the net.”
In other PAL Ocean Division action, Aragon downed Westmoor in straight sets, 25-17, 25-5, 25-11. Randi Taylor paced the Dons with 17 kills. Anna Joshi added nine kills and three aces. Mel Moore had five blocks.
El Camino defeated Jefferson in four sets, 25-22, 25-20, 17-25, 25-18. Jefferson had eight kills apiece from Alanis Togiai and Christi Boado, while Senara Faleafine added five kills.
San Mateo defeated Capuchino 25-11, 25-21, 25-17. Kimi Marin paced the Bearcats with 11 kills and Val Mihalek tabbed 10 kills.
In PAL Bay Division action, Menlo-Atherton swept Terra Nova, 25-16, 25-21, 25-15. Devin Joos notched 20 kills and nine digs for the Bears. Kaitlin Taveraz added 12 digs. Kirby Knapp had 41 assists.
Carlmont won its sixth straight overall match with a sweep of Hillsdale, 25-18, 25-20, 25-16. Mia Hogan paced the Scots with nine kills. Lauren Tierney returned to action after missing 12 matches due to injury, tabbing 19 assists and two service aces.
Sequoia downed Woodside in four sets, 25-19, 19-25, 25-17, 25-21. Leanne Robinson totaled 14 kills, 21 digs, four aces and two blocks. Rachel Fink added 10 kills and 32 digs. Angela Hudelson tabbed 35 assists.