Sports

Paly girls rally falls short in NorCal volleyball loss

 
Chelsea Fan recorded 19 kills on Wednesday night. Photo by Karen Ambrose Hickey.

The season came to an end Wednesday for the Palo Alto girls volleyball team as Oak Ridge pulled out a 25-27, 25-18, 25-15, 25-27, 15-10 victory in the opening round of the NorCal Division I playoffs.

Palo Alto (23-5) was seeded fourth and Oak Ridge, a league champion, a misleading 13th. The visitors from El Dorado Hills had a size advantage all around the court and actually had a higher state ranking (39th to Palo Alto’s 42nd) according to MaxPreps.


Isabella Marcus
Palo Alto won the first and fourth sets, both by a 27-25 score, which provides an image of how hard the Vikings had to work. The three sets won by Oak Ridge (22-8) all came in more convincing fashion, 25-18 in the second set, 25-15 in the third set and 15-10 in the fifth set.

“I thought we played real good defense, which helped us win the first set," said Chelsea Fan, one of eight seniors on the Palo Alto roster. “I didn’t expect to lose the next two sets. We had a real good talk before the fourth set and got real riled up. But in the fifth set we got off to a slow start. In a 15-point match you can’t get off to a slow start.’’

Fan did her best to keep Paly competitive, playing her customary all-around game and leading the team with 19 kills.

“She was unbelievable, she hit over us, around us and through us,’’ Oak Ridge coach Patrick Sanders said. “Quite a show she put on. A fantastic player. The whole team was scrappy, scrappy, scrappy.’’

Palo Alto led throughout the first set but Oak Ridge, in an indication of what was to come, made a run at the end to tie 24-24. Isabella Marcus and Avery Wooten combined on a block to give Paly the 27-25 win.

Oak Ridge jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the second set and a 10-4 lead in the third set and was never headed in either.

“We had a game plan that we executed in the first set,’’ interim coach Benji Saetang said. “In the second and third set we didn’t execute. We fought back but too late. Our mental toughness was up and down.’’

Palo Alto got off to a good start in the fourth set, leading by as much as seven at 13-6 and 18-11. But at 24-18 the Vikings were unable to come up with set point and watched Oak Ridge rally to draw even at 24-24. It would have been a very unfortunate way to end the season if they allowed Oak Ridge to come back all the way and take that set to win the match 3-1. But Palo Alto responded and pulled it out to go to a fifth set.

So the high school careers have come to an end for those eight seniors.

“It’s been a great four years,’’ Fan said.

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Comments

14 people like this
Posted by Confused Again
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 16, 2017 at 10:48 am

“We had a game plan that we executed in the first set,’’ interim coach Benji Saetang said. So let me get this straight... was the head coach absent again for this game? He was also missing for the CCS Open gym. What's going on with Paly volleyball? No way the Vikings should have lost in the opening round to a #13 seed after being selected to the Open for CCS.


8 people like this
Posted by Why confused
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 16, 2017 at 11:47 am

I think it's a stretch to say that there's "no way the Vikings should have lost in the opening round to a #13 seed..." Looking at MaxPreps, Oak Ridge is actually ranked higher in the state than Paly. Oak Ridge beat Los Altos and Los Gatos and their losses came mostly at the hands of quality teams. It is not as if Paly got swept. They lost in the 5th set.


2 people like this
Posted by YSK
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 16, 2017 at 12:33 pm

There's an egregious backstory behind Paly Volleyball and what has gone on there this year. Let's just say it's no surprise that Paly is having issues in so many areas, especially where it applies to violation of Title 7.


6 people like this
Posted by Confused Again
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 16, 2017 at 1:02 pm

Yes Oak Ridge is a good team. But Paly was at home and at full strength. They play a way more rigorous schedule than Oak Ridge. I still don't understand why the JV head coach is listed as the "interim coach". What is going on with Paly Volleyball?


1 person likes this
Posted by YSK
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 16, 2017 at 1:07 pm

Confused, I could tell you, but not on here. All I can say on here is that Paly has made some seriously bad decisions, ignored improprieties and previous bad acts, and offered no redress.


5 people like this
Posted by Best team won
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 16, 2017 at 1:56 pm

As a casual observer who attended the game last night and having not seen either team play before oak ridge looked bigger and better with many players who hit hard leading to kills. Paly had only one. Seedinga at the high school level are a crapshoot. Congrats to paly for making the playoffs.


3 people like this
Posted by Let's force Transparency
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 16, 2017 at 3:04 pm

@YSK
I think Paly needs to start being called out on their actions. Too often we hear about back room deals, students being mis-treated, parents pulling strings, administrators not doing the right thing, etc...

In order for the community to demand change, all of these stories need to become public.

It would be great to out them on all of their transgressions.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 16, 2017 at 3:33 pm

Congrats to Paly for making the playoffs, it was not easy game. Comparing to Gunn volleyball team, Paly has very strong volleyball program and teams. Gunn volleyball team almost disappeared from the media and didn't make CCS playoff this year, and Gunn needs to rebuild the volleyball program.


2 people like this
Posted by YSK
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 16, 2017 at 3:35 pm

Everything you mentioned is an element in what happened. Unfortunately, you are correct in the string pulling and the administrators not only doing the wrong thing, but standing behind their erroneous decisions with impunity.

I can tell you for certain that team losing last night was more than "the best team won." It's sad, and unfair to the kids.


Like this comment
Posted by YSK
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 16, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Resident: The issue at Gunn is related to the issue at Paly. I feel bad for those kids.


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 16, 2017 at 3:39 pm

@Let's force Transparency

"In order for the community to demand change, all of these stories need to become public."

How to force transparency in sport team? all players have equally play time? then look at Gunn VB this year...


1 person likes this
Posted by sports
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 16, 2017 at 4:27 pm

transparency and equal playing time in high school varsity sports are totally unrelated. One should not expect to have equal playing time on a varsity sports team. This is not AYSO.

From what YSK stated, there seemed to be deeper issues that cross the line of sports and into human rights or treatment of players or coaches that the administration allowed to happen. If that is so, then in order to get this district cleaned up, especially, it appears, at Paly, the issues need to be made public so the community can demand action on the part of the administrators and/or school board.

This sounds like a bigger problem than "Jimmy/Susie wants to play more and the coach isn't putting him/her in."


Like this comment
Posted by YSK
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 16, 2017 at 5:21 pm

No, it has nothing to do with playing time with the exception of the politics of parents v. coaches. In fact, most kids are mortified (at least they used to be) if parents speak to the coach about such things.


6 people like this
Posted by Elena Kadvany
education reporter of the Palo Alto Weekly
on Nov 16, 2017 at 9:04 pm

Elena Kadvany is a registered user.

To YSK: My name is Elena Kadvany; I'm the Palo Alto Weekly's education reporter. I'm interested in speaking with you further. If you are interested, please email me at ekadvany@paweekly.com. Thank you.


1 person likes this
Posted by member
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2017 at 6:41 am

The problems go deeper than the coaches. The AD's and the hiring practices are the root of the problem.

How does a 12-1 coach at Paly not get renewed?
How does a coach that got fired for misusing school equipment and facilities get re-hired at Paly?
How does teams go through 4 coaches in 4 years?
How does a coach put his club over the needs of the girls?
How does a coach not show up for meetings and playoff games?

The problems are at a higher level.


Like this comment
Posted by member
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2017 at 6:44 am

Although Gunn's varsity program had a mediocre year,
it's JV went 13-2 and the freshman went 14-1.



Like this comment
Posted by member
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2017 at 6:59 am

Gunn's AD should not get a pass either.

He has been unresponsive to the needs of the teams.
He hired an inexperienced head coach.
He hired a coach that was fired from his club team for stealing.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2017 at 3:29 pm

To member,

Probably you don’t know Gunn Varsity VB. JV and freshman teams are very different from varsity team. Maybe this inexperienced coach was hired by some varsity players from the same club. Some players involved hiring and interview panel.

At least Gunn AD did right thing to let go some bad apples, for example, he fired one of former head coach whom used Gunn’s title in order to promote his own club business. He was a horrible, very unprofessional and bias coach. Without Gunn’s title, his club was out of business within 6 months.


Like this comment
Posted by member
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2017 at 4:09 pm

He also hired a coach that was accused of inappropriate behavior around his team and allowed him to stay with the program.


7 people like this
Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 17, 2017 at 4:25 pm

The whole topic of coaching middle school & high school, and coaching club is messy. It is hard for me to understand how they can get coaches for school teams. The pay is minimal ($3K for a varsity coach for a season, less for an asst or JV coach, $11 for a middle school coach). The coaches work long hours and they have to commute to games all over the valley, and to all day tournaments. Plus they have to listen to complaining parents. I think a few coaches truly have a passion for the game, but many school coaches are in it for the visibility and to recruit players for their club team. This applies to the Paly varsity coach this year. I believe he was fired two years ago for abusing his position (using the Paly gym and equipment for his club teams). Then Paly promotes the JV coach to varsity coach. She comes in second in CCS but the parents aren't happy so they fire her and re-hire the coach they fired the previous year. Then he is missing in action this year when the team goes to playoffs (because he is too busy with his club activities).

I believe the real problem here is that the PE teachers were able to get out of the responsibility of coaching. The PE teachers work from 8-3, and go home. They should be required to coach one team per season. Teachers understand the school culture
(that academics are important), and most of them understand how to avoid improper behavior etc. But the teacher's union has worked it out so that the PE teachers don't have to coach. So the students and parents have to deal with all the issues of coaches who are not capable or motivated. There are still some good non teacher coaches, but the overall situation is not healthy.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2017 at 5:01 pm

To member,

Also Gunn AD did good job by firing one of freshmen team coach (another bad apple) during last season, because this coach accused another coach for inappropriate behavior. All girls at team agreed that another coach was very good coach. Gunn ADM had to do their due process and did investigation, and cleared the fact. What a distraction! This coach is now JLS coach, and he was was very unprofessional and petty.


7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2017 at 5:38 pm

Just realized former Paly head coach(last year), Gunn current varsity head coach and JLS coach (one fired by Gunn) are from the same club. -)


3 people like this
Posted by What about AD?
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 17, 2017 at 6:29 pm

Parents should not have a voice in who the high school coach is. Don't we pay an Athletic Director to do that job? Unless there is emotional or physical abuse witnessed by a parent, they should stay out of the equation.


7 people like this
Posted by Coaches
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 17, 2017 at 6:43 pm

I'm the old days all high school coaches were part of the school either PE or other. I was coached by math, English and history teachers. Now outside coaches are hired who who have their own personal agenda this can work but it's obvious in many cases their goal conflict with what's best for the student athletes. Compounding the problem is pushy parents.
I think all coaches should be part of the scholol. Don't like them just play club.


Like this comment
Posted by Concerned Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2017 at 8:54 pm

Maybe one reason it is so hard retain qualified coaches is that those who take those underpaid (assistant coaches are typically volunteers who are paid nothing) and often under-appreciated jobs get fed up of reading false stories written by people who are either ignorant of or not interested in facts. Or maybe they get fed up with parents meddling in decisions about playing time or other internal team matters that are rightly the sole domain of the coach, especially when some of those parents have excessive influence over the school administrators who decide contract terms.

The coach who reported observing questionable and possibly inappropriate behavior resigned for reasons unrelated to the alleged incident; he was not fired. In fact, the head coach attempted to talk him out of resigning, particularly after he was forced to dismiss the coach that was observed engaging in the questionable behavior. The AD was quite detached from the whole matter, maybe because he was dealing with some serious health issues of his own.

A word of advice to anonymous "Resident": you really should get your facts straight before you start throwing around potentially libelous accusations. And before you complain that I'm making up my own falsehoods: unlike you, I happen to know all of the people and all of the facts surrounding the turmoil in the Gunn volleyball program during the past two years.


Like this comment
Posted by wrong information
a resident of University South
on Nov 17, 2017 at 9:26 pm

dear Resident,

You are misinformed about the coaches club affiliations.
Please check your facts before you post.


5 people like this
Posted by Gunn Parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Nov 17, 2017 at 9:37 pm

To Concern Citizen,

Haha, do you speak on behalf of this coach? It is very interesting. My kid was on the team last year. We knew what happened...


6 people like this
Posted by observer
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Nov 17, 2017 at 10:03 pm

As an observer of Palo Alto sports, I think the system is ripe for abuse.

I hate the idea that families have to spend thousands of dollars and years of training to make it on a high school team. I did not come from a wealthy family by Palo Alto standards, and we could not have afforded club training -- I never would have made it on any of current high school teams. I played multiple sports back then, but a club background is mandatory now. I know this is the way it is now, but it's just depressing. Sports were a large part of my high school experience.

As for coaches, I like in theory about teachers coaching, but the sports have become so competitive now, it would not be a great environment to coach in. This year I observed players and parents degrade a coach who wasn't up to their standards. Without specialization in a sport, I think this would be common place.

Just venting -- thanks for reading.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2017 at 11:25 am

Dear wrong information

"You are misinformed about the coaches club affiliations.Please check your facts before you post."

Please look at this link. -)

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by member
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 20, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Resident,

I'm not sure what you're looking at. The Gunn coaches are not coaching at the same club as the other coaches you mentioned. They are coaching at Academy this year.


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2017 at 5:23 pm

To member,

Talking about the former Paly coach (last year one) was from PAVBC; current Gunn head coach is from PAVBC.; JLS coach is also from the same club. Web Link

Current Paly head coach is from Academy.


1 person likes this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 21, 2017 at 6:06 pm

About coach pay --- I'm not sure if a varsity coach gets $3K - it might be a little higher at $3.5K. But this is not accurate in terms that the $3K/$3.5K is for the entire varsity program, not just the head coach. The 3K has to be shared among all the varsity coaches.

PE teacher > Team coaches or Academic teachers > Team Coaches. This only works if the PE teacher or academic teacher actually has a trained / certified coaching certificate for the sport in question. Otherwise such a bad idea.


2 people like this
Posted by member35
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 30, 2017 at 1:29 am

@ YSK you are clearly somebody very close of previous year coach at Paly...

Stop throwing trash on this story, Paly Head Coach is an incredible human being and helped so many kids in the area, you are just defending your close person like a baby and she doesn't need your help anymore...

It's time to stop lying , ask Paly VB parents if they like the Head Coach this season, 12-0 in league and Spikefest Champion with a very normal team.

How many lies you would like throw to community?


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