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Experienced Eagles aim for excellence

Los Altos High Volleyball” width=
Town Crier File Photo
Claire Kwok, blocking at left, and Katie Kishton, right, have been selected as team captains of this year’s Los Altos High girls volleyball team. Both seniors played integral roles on last season’s squad, which advanced to the state final for the first time in school history.

This may not only be the tallest girls volleyball team Peter Kim has coached in his nine years at Los Altos High, but also the one with the highest expectations.

The Eagles last year reached the state final for the first time in school history, and with four starters back – and the addition of two talented freshmen and a pair of 6-foot sophomores – they’re shooting for similar success this year.

“We have pretty lofty goals,” said Kim, whose team fell to Village Christian of Sun Valley in last year’s Division II state final. “We want to win league, CCS and hopefully make another run at the state championship title.”

While that may be a lot to ask of his team, players like co-captain Katie Kishton seem up for the challenge.

“We don’t want to live up to (last year’s success), but we want to push ourselves to try to do it again,” the senior said. “We have so much talent – possibly more than last year – and have the potential to have a strong season and a strong team.”

Kim also raved about the roster of 15 – comprising six seniors, four juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen – and was eager to see the Eagles show their stuff in a real match.

“I think we’re definitely stronger than we were last year, but we haven’t played any matches yet, so that could change next week,” he said prior to last Saturday’s season-opening Spikefest I tournament. “I really like our talent and the makeup of the team – it’s working right now – but it’s hard to gauge how good we are until we go against live competition.”

One thing’s for sure: This team has already exceeded last year’s squad in one area – height. Los Altos has three players listed at 6 feet or above – senior Sydney Enthoven (6-0) and sophomores Carolyn Dormady (6-0) and Emma Symon (6-2) – and another who should be: Kishton.

“She’s 6 feet, but she didn’t want to be listed at that,” Kim said of his fourth-year varsity player. “Maybe I can list her at 5-12.”

Kishton is just fine with that.

“When we measured, I wasn’t expecting that,” she said. “I don’t consider myself over 6 feet.”

Expect Kishton to stand tall on the court, however, in her dual role of setter and right-side hitter in Los Altos’ 6-2 offense.

“She didn’t set much in club, so we’re getting her as many reps as possible now, and her setting is a lot more consistent,” Kim said. “I need her hands more than I need her to hit the ball.”

The Eagles’ other starting setter is freshman Megan Wong, whose big sister Kaitlyn was a standout libero on last year’s team and is now playing for Brown University.

“Megan has done really well,” Kim said. “Once she’s on the court, she doesn’t act like a freshman. I have to remind myself that she’s a freshman and still learning.”

Wong and Kishton should rack up plenty of assists setting to outside hitter Naomie Cremoux.

“She has become more consistent and has an opportunity to be one of the top three players in the league,” Kim said of the 5-10 junior, who, like Kishton, was an SCVAL De Anza Division First Team selection last season.

Kim has yet to decide who will start at the other outside hitter spot. Candidates include Dormady, junior Anna Smith and freshman Kaitlyn Lee. Smith is the only one with varsity experience, Dormady also plays middle blocker and Lee is becoming known for her drive to improve.

“She strives for knowledge,” Kishton said. “She ask questions all the time and tries to get better.”

Enthoven anchors the middle, where she will team with either Symon or Dormady.

“Sydney has a lot of experience and is becoming a leader on the floor, which is cool to see,” Kim said, “and I think she’s a lot more explosive this year.”

Senior Claire Kwok, another returning starter, plays the right side and shares captain duties with Kishton. Megan Corley “has the inside track” for the libero position, Kim said, though fellow senior Alice Kutsyy and sophomore Jackie Hu remain in contention.

Los Altos is slated to host Presentation 6:45 p.m. Thursday.

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