Girls’ volleyball: Falcons eye first-place finish in El Camino League October 17, 2016 — by Kitty Huang and Harshini Ramaswamy Girls Volleyball team hope to win El Camino League. With just a few games left in the season, the team is still hoping to win the El Camino League. Originally tied for first with Gunn High and Cupertino High, the Falcons were looking to take home league championship. But that goal took a hit with their 3-1 loss to Gunn on Oct. 14, a loss that dropped them to second in the league. “We gave them more points than they actually earned and that’s what kills us in every game,” senior captain Julia Vita said. “We need to work on protecting the ball more.” The Falcons are hoping Gunn drops at least one more match to give them a shot at the championship. The girls fought hard against Gunn, their biggest rival, but could not hold off the Titans’ strong offense. The Falcons lost 25-12 and 25-17 in their first two sets. The girls were able to win the third set 25-17, but lost the fourth set 25-18. “Because this is a really important game, we were all in our heads a little too much and missed many passes and serves,” sophomore hitter Katie Hulme said. “We’re all very capable players, but when it comes down to how we play, it really depends on what we’re thinking about and how much pressure is on us.” Before their loss against Gunn, the Falcons won 3-1 against Santa Clara High on Oct. 11. Though the girls took the first set 25-22, Santa Clara came back and won the second set 25-19. The Falcons responded by dominating the next two sets 25-18 and 25-20. Their hard-earned victory was the result of the girls’ strong offense, led by Hulme’s 21 kills and junior hitter Riley Carter’s 20 kills. Vita and sophomore Chaaya Patel protected the backcourt by diving to save balls. The team also defeated the Milpitas Trojans 3-0 on Oct. 6. The girls won all three sets in a dominant fashion 25-10, 25-18 and 25-15. Carter led the offense with 13 kills, while Hulme had 7. On Oct. 4, the Falcons fell to the Sacred Heart Gators in straight sets. The girls played hard against the Gators, but could not keep up with their aggressive serves. “There could definitely been more communication between the players,” junior hitter Belle Strawn said. “We could’ve done better if we put mistakes behind us and supported each other so that everyone had a better attitude.” The girls had also defeated Wilcox 3-1 on Sept. 29. After dropping the first set, they established a fast pace for the rest of the game and were able to work together against Wilcox to win the next three sets. “Everyone contributed to the win and we played pretty well as a team,” junior setter Dasha Gousseva said. “We were a lot stronger compared to them, and the game was really fun and wasn’t as stressful.” The team won in straight sets again on Sept. 27 against Fremont High. The girls barely won in the first set with a score of 25-22, but were able to take care of the rest of the game by winning the second set 25-12 and the third set 25-15 behind Carter’s 13 kills, Hulme’s 10 kills and Vita’s strong defense. Though the team won all three sets, Gousseva still felt that the team had room for improvement. “Overall the team needs to improve on working together and supporting each other to keep each other up,” Gousseva said. “Our skills are all really good; we just need to come together.” Due to printing deadlines, the Falcon was unable to cover the game against Fremont High on Oct. 18 and the game at Wilcox High on Oct. 20.