Countless hours of training and grueling practices have been the foundation for a strong volleyball season and now the Lady Dons (14-11) find themselves tied for third place in the Peninsula Athletic League.
Coming off an impressive 20-14 season in which they made it all the way to CCS, the girls are looking to improve and advance to Central Coast Section (CCS) playoffs once again.
“[We have been] working on communication to achieve even greater success this season,” says junior middle blocker and rightside hitter Lille Tuivailala.
However, in order to improve upon last year’s record, the Lady Dons will need to overcome the challenges that come with losing key players, including former captains Maddie Lee and Anna Joshi.
With four graduating seniors on last year’s squad, four new spots have opened up on the court for somebody to step into.
Says Tuivailala, “[losing a substantial part of our team has paved the way for] new chemistry and team spirit on the floor.”
The primary goal for this season is to “listen to each other on the court,” says junior defensive specialist Kayla Danao.
The team has also battled sudden injury, but the girls haven’t let that affect their performance on the court.
During their Sept. 22 bout against Carlmont, the team lost two starting outside hitters, due to concussions, “but the girls battled and never gave up,” says head coach, Kelsey Stiles.
They later came back to win 3-2 after being down 2-0, displaying the extent of the confidence the girls have in each other; a confidence that served them well on Oct. 13 as they defeated Half Moon Bay 3-2
For the second time this season, the Lady Dons pulled out a nail-biting win. Both teams battled for each and every point. Aragon started strong, winning the first set 25-23, and the second 26-24 in overtime. Despite Half Moon Bay’s right side hitter being a left-hander who continuously challenged the Dons with hits down the line, senior Melanie Moore showed no mercy as she challenged the Lady Cougars with block after block at the net. From the cheering crowd to the rallying teammates, the intensity grew as the game advanced into the third set.
The third set started off with a drilled-down kill from Moore, followed by two intimidating hits from sophomore Della Trimble. The game became even more intense as Half Moon Bay came back and won the third set 25-21. The two teams kept it close in the fourth set until Half Moon Bay took the lead. The Dons came back from 14-20 as Moore went on a rampage with several kills and an ace to tie the game at 24 apiece. Sophomore Kylie Larcher showed her tenacity as she spiked a kill down the middle to tie up the game for the second time in the fourth set. With a strong hit, Half Moon Bay took the fourth set in overtime.
In the final set, the Lady Dons were anything but fazed by the pressure that accompanies a do-or-die game. The entire team stood up on the sideline, jumping, yelling, and screaming as their teammates battled for every point, ultimately winning the set 15-13. Although a tough game, the Lady Dons displayed their perseverance, improving to 2-1 on the year against the Lady Cougars.