After an 0-3 start, it looked like the youthful Los Altos High girls volleyball team could be in for a rough season. But the Eagles have experienced a growth spurt since then, winning 12 of 14 matches.
“The biggest surprise for me this season has been the ease that the freshmen have had coming in and making that immediate impact we talked about,” said coach Jason Kennedy, referring to a preseason interview with the Town Crier.
The freshmen – Meghan McDermott, Katie Tritschler and Hanna Koehler – are playing beyond their years, according to Kennedy.
“Koehler is doing a good job with the off-ense and each match matures a little, and we see her making better decisions with the ball as the season goes on,” he said. “McDermott has been the spark plug the team has needed. She has established herself as a leader and vital part to the success of the team. Tritschler is becoming more comfortable in with her role on the team in the back row and is one of the more consistent players we have.”
Some of the upperclassmen are making an impact as well. Junior outside hitter Taylor McCreery notched nine kills in Los Altos’ 25-18, 25-23, 25-21 win at Saratoga Thursday. The victory evened the Eagles’ record at 1-1 in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division and put them at 12-5 overall.
Either junior Heather Sangster or sophomore Natalie Dwulet, both middle blockers, led Los Altos in kills through the first 10 matches.
“Our middles were our biggest strength in the beginning of the season,” Kennedy said, “so we’re looking for that to be a big key for us as we progress into league play.”
The Eagles are slated to host Monta Vista 6:45 p.m. Thursday.
Lancers sweep week
St. Francis had little trouble winning both of its non-league matches last week, sweeping St. Mary’s of Stockton and Mercy-Burlingame at home.
Savannah Paffen totaled 10 kills Sept. 20 against St. Mary’s and seven Thursday versus Mercy. Christine Alftin also had seven kills Thursday and Lacy Coquillard recorded seven digs for the Lancers (12-3).
Spartans split a pair
Mountain View followed a sweep of Homestead with a four-game loss to Los Gatos last week to open SCVAL De Anza Division play.
Junior Brittany Howard posted 21 kills and 19 digs in the Sept. 21 home win against the Mustangs. Shannon Ho added 12 digs.
Freshman Casey Carroll, a Los Altos resident, had eight kills for Homestead.
In Thursday’s setback at Los Gatos, Howard posted 18 kills and teammate Erica Fischer-Colbrie totaled eight. The Spartans fell to 6-5 overall.
Gators bite Panthers
Facing what Pinewood coach Peter Yee described as “a very tough Castilleja team,” the host Panthers fell in straight games Sept. 21.
Pinewood’s hitting woes proved costly in the match. In 41 attempts, the Panthers mustered only nine kills and had just as many hitting errors.
Middle blocker Lizzy Fields paced Pinewood with five kills.