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High School Volleyball Roundup: Hornets and Pilots

Alameda High defeats Castro Valley with fans on the edge of their seats, SJND celebrates Senior Day with a sweep

The Alameda High School Hornets boys volleyball squad (17-4) captured a thrilling 3-2 set victory over the visiting Castro Valley Trojans (24-6) on Thursday, April 18. Alameda High claimed the first two sets of its five-set battle with the Trojans 25-20 and 25-23, while Castro Valley went on to win the next two sets 22-25 and 21-25. But it was the hometown Hornets who captured the decisive fifth and final set 15-12 to win the game.

Alameda Post - Alameda High School boys volleyball team plays on the court
The AHS Hornets boys volleyball team prepares for a serve. Photo Gabriel Caraballo.

Alameda came away with the 25-20 first set win, but it was hard fought as neither team broke away from another until the end. The Hornets and Trojans found themselves tied at 18 points apiece late in the first. But Alameda outscored the Trojans 7-2 and ultimately secured the first set victory.

The second set was action-packed as Alameda came away with a close 25-23 win. Castro Valley started with a quick 9-5 lead over the Hornets. However, a series of Trojan errors quickly tied the game for Alameda at 9-9. The Hornets wouldn’t let Castro Valley break away again. At 17-17, Alameda put together a late four-point run to go up 21-17, with junior Ray Ulibarri contributing two of his team-leading 14 kills. The Trojans brought the score back within a point at 24-23, but Hornets senior Jesse Kim threw down a stinger of a spike for the set win.

Up two sets to none, the Hornets needed just one more to close the match, but  the Trojans mounted a two-set comeback and tied it. Coincidentally the third and fourth sets started the same, with Alameda taking an early 4-1 lead over Castro Valley. However, in both sets the Trojans tied the score 4-4, overtook the Hornets’ lead, and did not look back. Alameda fell 22-25 in the third set, as Castro Valley’s Owen Santiago put the pressure on the Hornets with a fifth of the Trojans points. In the fourth set, Alameda was plagued with errors and outs that helped the Trojans down the Hornets 21-25.

Tied at 2-2, the match came down to the pivotal tiebreaker set. The Hornets found themselves down 5-6 early. But they stung back with a critical three-point run with ferocious kills from Ulibarri, Theo McManus and Austin Lee, to go up 8-6. With momentum and the lead in hand, Alameda had what it needed to win. The Trojans brought the score within one point at 12-11, but in the end Alameda outscored Castro Valley 3-1 and claimed victory.

“At the end of the day it was who wanted to win, and we wanted to win,” said assistant coach Monica Payumo, who took the reins for this matchup.

The Hornets improved to 17-4 on the season. The team will travel to Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd to take on the Dragons on Wednesday ,April 24, and then will return home on Friday, April 26, for their final game of the season against San Lorenzo’s Arroyo Dons.

Alameda Post - the Saint Joseph Notre Dame Pilots volleyball team seniors stand holding posters of themselves
Saint Joseph Notre Dame seniors pose for Senior Day. Photo Gabriel Caraballo.

SJND Pilots Sweep Dublin Vikings on Senior Day

On Friday, April 19, the Saint Joseph Notre Dame volleyball team (17-6) celebrated their Senior Day with a 3-0 set sweep over Dublin’s Valley Christian Vikings (0-10) at Kelly Gymnasium. The Pilots won with set scores of 25-18, 25-19, and 25-23. Pilot seniors Parker Johnston, Christian Chiu, James Witherspoon, Derrick Raymundo, and Dillon McVeigh were honored by head coach Allan Nguyen for their hard work, time, and dedication to the program.

The Pilots wasted no time as they blasted off to an incredible 11-3 lead over the Vikings in the first set. Chiu contributed five of those points with three service aces and a couple spikes on the side. The Pilots retained a huge lead throughout the rest of the first and cruised to a 25-18 set win.

Saint Joe’s carried over its first set momentum and soared to a 7-3 lead to start the second. The Pilots lead was spurred by three bombastic service aces, two of which came from junior Samuel Baleinakorodawa and the final from McVeigh. However, unlike in the first set, the Vikings brought the score within one at 20-19 with a five-point run. Despite a possible Viking comeback, the Pilots answered with a five-point run, three of which came from Parker Johnston, sealing the second-set victory.

The third set was a nail-biter. At 8-7, Saint Joe’s struck first with a six-point run, two of which were service aces by Witherspoon. But once the Pilots run ended at 13-7, Valley Chrisitan immediately went on a five-point run of their own. At 13-12 the score stayed within one until 24-23, when the Pilots ultimately won with a tip from Johnston.

Chiu and Johnston had big games on their senior day., “They’re absolute dogs on the court right now,” said head coach Allan Nguyen, “but once they get into college it’s a whole new playing field…I know those two are willing to put in the work to get where they want to be.”

The Pilots boys volleyball squad captured their final win of the season on Monday, April 22, against Oakland’s Head Royce. The two wins secured Saint Joe’s 17-6 overall record, 10-0 Bay Counties League record, and a nine-game win streak to close the season.

Contributing writer Gabriel Caraballo covers local sports for the Alameda Post. Contact him via [email protected]. His writing is collected

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