The girls volleyball team (5-3 Peninsula Athletic League) defeated Menlo-Atherton (3-7 PAL) for the second time this season in four sets on Oct. 12. The match was the team’s suicide awareness game.
Aragon’s volleyball teams represented Play4Prevention, an organization created by Serra junior football and basketball player Luke Bottari. He was inspired to begin his organization after a close friend committed suicide last year, as Bottari channeled his love of sports into something that could bring suicide awareness.
Bottari inspired the Serra football team to play its homecoming game in Play4Prevention’s name. Additionally, he got the Serra cross country and football teams to wear the organization’s signature “P4P” socks. Teams from all over the area have played games in the organization’s name, including Hillsdale’s football team and Sequoia’s football team.
Before the game began, juniors Kylie Larcher and Samantha Wen and seniors Kayla Danao and Lille Tuivailala recognized the team’s representation and support of Play4Prevention.
“We are wearing the socks to acknowledge the encouragement of knowing the signs of depression and suicide, and to help wherever and whenever possible,” Larcher said. “Our goal is to impact as many lives as possible.”
Followed by a moment of silence to recognize all of those lost to suicide, the junior varsity girls passed around pamphlets created by Play4Prevention, which noted the signs of depression and suicide.
The start of the first game began with strong serves from the Lady Dons, especially junior defensive player Abby Legaspi, who served 24 times throughout the match without missing a serving. Combined with strong hitting and blocking from sophomores Lydia Manu and Madison Campbell as well as Tuivailala, the Lady Dons took the first set 25-22.
Although they won the set, the Lady Dons felt as though they weren’t playing with enough energy.
“I think the first and second set, our energy just wasn’t there,” Wen said. “We were winning and everything but we weren’t getting hyped and having high energy.”
After losing the second set 20-25, the third set was more exciting. The large home crowd got more into the match, firing up the Aragon players.
“When those long rallies happened, we were able to keep getting the ball up and that kept hyping us up,” Wen said. “The crowd would get super rowdy, our bench would get super rowdy too, and that just fed our energy and focus.”
This jolt of energy led to powerful strikes from Manu, Wen and Tuivailala, as well as great defensive play from Danao.
Although the Lady Dons won the third set by a close margin, 25-23, their level of play continued to grow as they entered what would be their final set. Junior Della Trimble had especially smart plays in the last set.
“You have to be aware of where the blockers are and where the defense is and try and place it as best as possible,” Trimble said. “It’s best to mix it up, not hit the same place every time, things like that.”
Along with more consistent serving all around the team and great defense from Danao, Legaspi and seniors Andrea Ramirez and Ashlee Daguio, the Lady Dons won the set 25-19.
“That’s kind of been our problem a little bit, starting off slow,” Tuivailala said. “There’s been past games where we’ve started up slow and came up too late, but I think we pulled through in this game and I think the fourth match we started great and finished it off well.”