Aragon’s varsity volleyball team fell to the Menlo-Atherton Bears in three sets (26-24, 25-20, 25-18) on Oct. 10. The loss drops the team to 1-5 for the season. The Dons came into the game from their first division win against South San Francisco on Oct. 8, but were matched up against a strong M-A team filled with powerful hitters and skilled passing.
While the score may not have ended up in their favor, the Dons had many great moments throughout the match, having runs of up to six points in a row. However, following those hot streaks, the team had a rough patch, letting the Bears earn those points back. Sophomore Kaelah Velisano explains, “We just need to have positive energy. [The streaks] are all mental.”
Assistant coach Lance Ishikawa has another explanation. He says, “We’re working on trying to keep [a level of] consistency. [They have to find out how] to pace themselves. They come out very strong very early, and then they kind of peter out.”
During the game, the two sides of the net could not have acted more different. The Dons were full of spirit, celebrating and regrouping after every point, while the Bears had more of a concentrated, focused look throughout the match. In terms of cheers, the teams could not have been more opposite. Ishikawa says, “On Tuesday, [the opposing team (SSF)] was very complimentary of us. They said that because of our loudness, their girls could not get back into the game.”
In terms of individual play, the front row was able to get touches and blocks on the net. Velisano adds, “Sam [Haupeakui] did some amazing blocking.” The Dons also had strong serving, which allowed them to continue stretches of five or six points in a row.
However, tough tests in the form of Carlmont, Burlingame and Menlo-Atherton stand in their way. Last season, the team lost at least twice to all of them, and this season, they have continued along that path, losing to Carlmont 3-0 on Sept. 24, Burlingame 3-0 on Sept. 26, and M-A on Oct. 10 but the Dons have another chance at all three of them.
Sophomore Danielle Vercelli says, “We can take these teams. We’re going to have to work together, we’re going to have to talk, [and] we’re going to have to become one to be able to take them.”
In addition to rematches with Carlmont (Oct. 17 at Carlmont), Burlingame (Oct. 22 at Burlingame), and Menlo-Atherton (Nov. 5 at M-A), the Dons have games against Woodside on Oct. 24 and San Mateo on Oct. 29, both at home. Finally, the season league finale is against the Dons’ rival, Hillsdale, at home on Nov. 7.