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SJND Sports: Pilots Volleyball First in Bay Counties League

The St. Joseph Notre Dame Pilots varsity boys volleyball team (13-6 overall), beat San Francisco’s University High School (4-10) and San Lorenzo’s Redwood Christian High School (9-9) and are on a five-game winning streak going into their final three games of the regular season. Saint Joe’s is now 7-0 in Bay Counties Boys Volleyball and currently holds first place in that league.

Alameda Post - pilots boys volleyball team poses on the court
Pilots Volleyball poses after their win. Photo Gabriel Caraballo.

“Just like last year when we were 7-0, we’re pursuing that undefeated record, constantly reminding the boys to fight… because at the end of the day it’s who wants it more,” said head coach Allan Nguyen.

On Tuesday April 9, Saint Joseph’s Notre Dame hosted the University High School Red Devils at Kelly Gymnasium. The Pilots swept the Red Devils in straight sets, 25-19, 25-23, and 25-20.

Saint Joe’s started hot in the first set with a quick 4-1 lead, and remained ahead by a few points until University’s Brenton Song tied the set at 10 apiece with a well-placed tip. The Red Devils then went up 10-13, due to consecutive Pilot errors and outs. However, Saint Joe’s stayed on course, went on a four-point run, and regained the lead at 14-13 after a tip from outside-hitter Christian Chiu. The Pilots wouldn’t look back and retained a short lead until 20-18, then captured the first set victory on a 5-1 scoring run.

The second set was highly competitive and started with a back-and-forth affair between each team. At 9-7 it seemed Saint Joe’s was about to break away until University went on a five-point scoring run, capped off by a spike from Song, and were suddenly up 9-12. The Red Devils capitalized on the momentum and pushed their lead to six points at 11-17. The set seemed bleak for the Pilots, but that didn’t stop Saint Joe’s, who fired on all cylinders and went on a resounding six-point run to tie the set at 17-17. The Pilots momentous run included two spikes and a block from opposite-hitter Lucas Barrantes and a service ace from outside-hitter Dylan McVeigh. Once tied at 17 apiece, the second set remained gridlocked until 22-22. Then, Saint Joe’s outscored the Red Devil’s three-to-one and secured the second set 25-23.

Up 2-0, the Pilots retained momentum and jumped out to an early 5-2 lead in the final set. Saint Joe’s continued to pile on points and pushed its lead to 21-13. A Pilots victory seemed imminent until University mounted a six-point run on the back of several Pilot errors, and got back into contention at 21-19. Despite the Red Devil’s late attempt at a comeback, however, the Pilots would ultimately take the third set 25-20 after a game-sealing tip from Chiu.

After Tuesday’s win against University, Saint Joe’s went on the road and beat Redwood Christian in straight sets on Thursday—26-24, 25-15, and 25-18. The Pilots are now 13-6 overall and 7-0 for first place in Bay Counties league play going into their final stretch of the season.

Saint Joe’s will travel to Lafayette to face Bentley High School on Wednesday, April 17, then return home on Thursday, April 18, to face Encinal High School at 6 p.m.

Alameda Post - two tennis players on the court
Seniors Richard Kamau and Kayden Payden. Photo Gabriel Caraballo.

Pilots Tennis Celebrate Senior Day

On Thursday, April 11 the Pilots hosted Danville’s Athenian High School Owls in Lower Washington Park, on Senior Day. Pilot seniors Richard Kamau and Kayden Payden were honored for their time and dedication to the program.

“Richard and Kayden were my two seniors, and they are remarkable young men,” said head coach Dwight Fisher, who noted that they had excellent leadership skills. “They ran my practices, I came in and they executed.”

Unfortunately the Pilots fell to the visiting Owls 0-7, 0-4 in singles and 0-3 in doubles.

Doubles play highlighted the Pilots’ senior tandem of Kamau and Payden against Athenian’s Tony Zhang and Nico Vargas. After falling 3-6 to the Owls’ pairing in the first set, Kamau and Payden started the second set 1-0. However, Athenian would take the next three games and go up 1-3 in the second set. Although down, the Pilots seniors kept fighting and would take three of the next five games bringing the set score to 4-5. Ultimately Athenian won the next game, went up 4-6, and stopped a possible Pilot comeback.

Alameda Post - a tennis player gets ready to swing
A Pilots player winds up a swing. Photo Gabriel Caraballo.

Next in doubles were Pilots Tyler Lee and Cash Rojo against Athenians Jake and Brody Greer. The brothers Greer beat the Pilots duo 0-6, 0-6. The final doubles match featured Saint Joe’s Declan McFarland and Beckett Atcisson versus Athenian’s Christopher Mui and Aaron Kong. The Pilot duo fell 2-6, 2-6.

To start singles, Pilot Robbie Stebins faced Athenian Tyler Farhholtz. Farhholtz claimed victory in two sets 3-6, 1-6. Next, in a match between Pilot Austin Ly and Athenian Harry Zhang, Ly fell to Zhang 3-6, 0-6. Then Oliver Suer represented the Pilots against Eddie Zhang for the Owls, and fell 2-6, 3-6. Rounding out the singles competition, Saint Joe’s Zelig Camdor-Weisberg faced Athenian’s Dylan Shah. Shah beat Camdor-Weisberg 1-6, 1-6.

This was Saint Joe’s last home match as the team travels to Lafayette’s Bentley High School on Tuesday, April 16, to wrap up its 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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