Shouts and calls filled the Matador Arena as players from both St. Genevieve and San Gabriel High School faced off. On Monday, the boys varsity volleyball team won 3-0 against St. Genevieve.
The Valiants and Matadors lined up at the ends of each court, eager for the upcoming preseason match against one another. Choruses of ‘good luck’ and ‘have fun’ echoed through the court as starting players hurried into their positions. In the first few minutes, both teams engaged in fast-paced trade offs between passes and spikes. Tied point for point in the final stretch of the game, sophomore outside hitter Brandon Phan relentlessly pounded the Valiants for each point to take the first set, 25-22.
“That’s when I knew they had no chance of stopping me,” Phan said. “So, I just kept doing it. After every point, I just reset and then focus on the next thing in front of me.”
Fresh into the second set, the two teams ran their game plays and strategies, each person playing a critical part in the heat of the moment. Junior setter Jimmy Liung weaved his way across the court fluidly, turning opportunities into points with every set he made for the hitters. Sweeping the Valiants 25-13 in the second set, the Matadors stepped into the third set confidently, having grown accustomed to dealing with key players on the opposing team.
“There was this guy—he was definitely their best hitter and we definitely had to watch him and block and cover him more because he was hitting well,” Liung said.
Tension built as the viewers and players noted that the third set would be a pivotal one for either team. For the Valiants, winning this set meant a second chance at victory. For the Matadors, taking this set would end the match with them as the victors. Two points away from the matchpoint, the Matadors attempted to keep a level head to avoid slip-ups, and it paid off. They won the third set with a five point lead, securing victory.
“Getting this win means a lot because we’re maturing more as a team and going forward instead of going back,” Liung said. “My goal is definitely winning the league first of all, and I think we can definitely do that this year. But I want to go beyond that. I want to go to CIF.”
Closing up the gym and leaving as winners, the Matadors look forward to their upcoming home game on Friday against Bishop Amat.