Boys baseball: MVHS wins three consecutive games in three days

Additional reporting by Sannidhi Menon and Himani Yalamaddi

Three consecutive games. Three consecutive wins. Last week, the MVHS baseball team played two games against Fremont HS and one non-league game against Mission San Jose HS. See below for two out of the three victories the Matadors obtained.

March 21, MVHS vs. FHS

After a scoreless first few innings, MVHS was able to build momentum in the latter half of the game and win with a final score of 5-0. With FHS unable to score any runs in the top of the first inning MVHS took the lead when a hit down the line by senior Sathya Kumaraguru allowed junior Jason Koontz, who was walked and had stolen second, to score in the bottom of the first inning. FHS batters had little success, having had two consecutive 1-2-3 innings (where no batter gets on base).

In the bottom of the third, junior Ryan Hada was able to hit a double into center field, and Kumaraguru followed up with a flyball to bring Hada home and give MVHS a 2-0 lead.

Kumaraguru explained that in order to focus on hitting that double, he had to tune out his surroundings, including the encouraging cheers coming from the dugout. This helped him to come through during this key moment that brought in another run.

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Senior Sathya Kumaraguru at bat. Kumaraguru hit a double in the bottom of the third inning, allowing MVHS to take the lead. Photo by Sannidhi Menon.

“Baseball is a game where everyone talks a lot,” Kumaraguru said. “It’s kind of annoying, honestly, because you lose your focus and I think it’s important to zone everything out and focus on just the ball.”

MVHS prevented FHS from advancing past second base for the next three innings with good fielding and multiple strikeouts by pitcher and senior Christopher Anderson. However, FHS matched their efforts, and the Matadors were also unable to score any runs during those innings.

It was not until the bottom of the sixth inning that MVHS began to pick up momentum. One after the other runner loaded the bases. Junior Jake Kokeny hit a ground ball, and Junior Tommy Lindstrom was walked. Anderson hit a successful bunt. The tension was evident on the field as senior Nathan Hui went up to bat. The bleachers roared as a line drive into right field brought home Kokeny. But it was not over yet: the bases remained loaded. With junior Jeffery Tian coming in as a pinch runner for Lindstrom, senior Anthony Moll continued the pattern by hitting a line drive down left field and widening the score gap to 4-0. The momentum continued as Koontz hit a ground ball, allowing Anderson to score another run and bringing the score to 5-0. However, the inning was cut short when Hui was tagged out at home followed by an inning ending double play.

Anderson explained that MVHS’ ability to keep the bases constantly loaded put pressure on the other team’s batters.

“When one guy gets on base, it motivates the next person up to also get on base [and] it might apply more pressure,” Anderson said.

Kumaraguru also thought that as the Matadors applied more pressure on the Firebirds with the bases loaded, FHS began to lose motivation which further contributed to the Matadors’ success.

Although FHS began to pick up momentum in the top of the seventh inning with three consecutive ground balls putting a runner on third, the last batter struck out, ending the game with the Firebirds unable to score a single run.

Koontz believes that this game helped the Matadors gain confidence, as they did not have a good opening to the league season last year. However, with this game giving them a 3-1 league record, Koontz thinks they are off to a better start. He explained that in order to earn future successes, they must continue to do what they did during this game, only better.

“Keep hitting the ball. Keep getting good contact. Keep working the pitcher. Keep working the counts,” Koontz said.

March 23, MVHS vs. MSJHS

After their second win against FHS on March 22, the Matadors gave the starters a break and put in many of their bench players for a non-league game against MSJHS. The bench players proved themselves by taking the game, 6-2.

MVHS started off the inning strong, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning. The crowd looked in awe as the scoring started with a ground rule double by Tian. After stealing third base, he was able to score via a popup by Moll. It had been less than 15 minutes since the game had started. Third in the lineup, senior Joshua Huang got to first base after being walked and advanced to second by a single by junior Christian Garber. A ground ball by junior Nikhil Venkhat brought home Huang, resulting in a 2-0 advantage for MVHS.

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Junior Jeffery Tian waits on deck. In the bottom of the first inning, Tian hit a ground rule double, helping MVHS start the game off strong. Photo by Sannidhi Menon.

Tian explained how the team had wanted to get an early lead in the game to demotivate the opposing team, and believes they were able to succeed by scoring those two runs. He said he was excited when he had hit the ground rule double.

“It felt really good. Off the bat I thought it was over, but it wasn’t, so I couldn’t stop smiling,” Tian said. “It was a really happy moment, probably the furthest I ever hit the ball.”

Despite an error at first base allowing a batter to advance to second base in the top of the second inning, no runs were scored by MSJHS in that inning.

Senior Ginga Sato’s first hit of the season was a single into center field, and he subsequently stole second and third base while junior Sam Yang was at bat during the bottom of the second inning. A hit by Moll brought Sato home, his first run of the season.

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Senior Ginga Sato smiles as he walks back to the dugout after scoring a run in the bottom of the second inning. This was his first run of the season. Photo by Sannidhi Menon.

Sato believes that part of the reason for their success at scoring so many runs during the first two innings was because it was the bench players who were out on the field.

“Today, most of the starters were usually benchwarmers, and they all wanted to have an opportunity [to play] and they got it,” Sato said. “They were desperate to get something done, and that got into a good cycle.”

The bottom of the second inning ended with another run, giving the Matadors a four run lead. MSJHS was unable to get past second base in the third inning, and it was once again MVHS’ turn to bat. With a flyball single into left field by Venkat and junior Josh Ploshay being walked, MVHS quickly occupied first and second base with no outs in the bottom of the the third. A line drive into left field by junior John Logie brought the score to 5-0. It seemed as though the game would end with another blowout by the Matadors.

Although MSJHS had little success against the starting pitcher, Huang, in the first four innings, MSJHS began to strike back in the fifth inning. Relief pitcher Kumaraguru allowed two walks after coming in for Huang, but began to find his rhythm and struck out the next batter. However, a line drive deep into left field brought home both runners, bringing the score to 5-2.

While the Matadors could not score any runs during the bottom of the fifth inning, MSJHS was also unable to score, failing to keep their momentum from the top of the sixth inning. The Matadors were able to score one more run during their half of the sixth inning. Yang led off with a single and a steal and was able to score on a ground ball from Moll, widening the score gap to 6-2.

With MSJHS unable to score any runs in the top of the 7th inning, the Matadors won their third game in three days. Huang described this game as less stressful compared to the other games this week.

“This is [the] third game in three days, so I think we were just trying to take it easy and have fun and win,” Huang said. “For me, since I was pitching, I just wanted to throw strikes.”

However, although this was only a non-league game, Huang explained that it was still important in the long run.

“We played a lot of [substitutes] today, but it was still a must-win game because it counted into CCS standings, so we had to win this game,” Huang said.

The team’s next home game will be on April 3 against Lynbrook HS at 4:00 p.m.

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Girls soccer: Team falls to Fremont in final minutes

The MVHS girls soccer team came into their game on Wednesday, Jan. 17 undefeated in their past six league games, and were looking to continue their success against a highly ranked Fremont HS team.

They had a very similar standing to us,” sophomore Jaimie Chan said, “so I knew that it wasn’t going to be an easy battle, but it was still winnable.”

Throughout the first half, the Matadors pressed hard against the FHS defense. After a couple of shots on goal, freshman Leena Tanway scored the game’s opening goal. 

We got excited, and we were really happy we scored because it gives us the head on the other team,” Tanway said, “but at the same time we needed to make sure that we kept our cool.”

As the half progressed, the FHS coaching staff became increasingly frustrated, arguing with each other over the right course of action. MVHS seemed to have the advantage over the other team.

Meanwhile, freshman Hana Foster went down after a foul with a sprained ankle and would not return to game play for a week. As Tanway explained, forwards need to be rotated out regularly due to the high amounts of running they do up and down the field. With Foster out of the rotation, the team was forced to rely on players who may not have had sufficient rest.

She’s very fast so that kind of affected us as a team, because we weren’t able to keep up with that speed and get to the balls as easily,” Tanway said.

However, her injury provided the team with even more motivation to finish the first half strong.

“It actually gave us some seconds to like gather ourselves and talk to each other,” senior captain Srinidhi Balaraman said. “That’s how the second [part] of the first half started getting a little better.”

Despite strong vocal support from the bench throughout the game, a few missed opportunities began to pile up. The Matadors knew that FHS wanted to keep them in the middle of the field, but weren’t pushing outside enough according to their coach. As an FHS attempt landed in the back of the net, the team started to get a little concerned.

“We definitely got a little worried as soon as the first goal happened, … they get into your head after that,” Balaraman said.

Soon after, senior Sara Nordby scored off a pass from Chan, bringing the score to 2-1. But despite the renewed energy and excitement, FHS scored twice more with eight minutes to spare, ending the game 2-3.

Aside from a close battle, the FHS game was also Tanway’s second to last with the team, as she moved to Leland HS. 

I honestly just wish I could play the rest of the season here cause these girls are, they’re girls that I truly love, and some of my best friends are in this team,” Tanway said.

As a freshman, she appreciated her older teammates willingness to listen to her ideas and advice.

“It helps with confidence and everything cause I see that as one of the younger players I’m still able to affect the team and still help everybody out,” Tanway said. “On other teams you definitely wouldn’t see that, but the girls here are really welcoming…  it definitely helps on the field because you know everybody trusts each other.”

The MVHS girls soccer team will have their next home game against Cupertino HS on Jan. 24.

Girls volleyball: Team loses to Palo Alto HS in four set defensive victory

On Oct. 19., the MVHS girls volleyball team lost in the fourth set to Palo Alto HS. After an intense and competitive first set, which ended with MVHS winning 25-23, the team went on to lose the remaining three sets due to lack of communication and execution. The second and third set saw fierce rallies between the teams, and despite a brief comeback in the fourth set with MVHS winning four points in a row, the game resulted in a loss. Although this was a step up from their previous game’s communication, MVHS still struggled with connecting the vocal and physical aspects of the game.

Check out the photo gallery below to see highlights from the game.

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The girls volleyball team will have its senior night game on Oct. 26 against Homestead HS.

 

Girls volleyball: Team takes five-set victory against HHS

Purple and gold posters and balloons decked one side of the gym, while the bleachers on the opposite side were packed with excited parents, siblings, friends and even pets. Oct. 26 marked the last home game of the season against Homestead HS, and the MVHS girls volleyball team was ready for a memorable night.

Before the game began, the seniors from MVHS and HHS ran across the court and exchanged roses with one another. Seniors took photos with their families, listened to heart-warming speeches from underclassmen, and some even shed tears. The night started off emotional and unforgettable for the seniors, and the game turned out to be even more so.

seniornight(From left to right) Senior Alia Johnson, senior Kelly Chen, senior Hannah Kotesova, senior Mahima Shanware, and senior Neha Jagathesan, received their senior appreciation flowers, gifts, and speeches from teammates. Photo by Aditi Gnanasekar.

Throughout the game, the team’s persistence in saving almost every ball and it’s strong defense helped it win one of their most exciting games of the year, with the Matadors winning 20-18 in the fifth set.

In the first set, the team started out virtually silent while dropping balls and missing serves. As the set continued, the players started to communicate, and the score was soon tied 16-16. The team pulled ahead, with senior Alia Johnson getting a kill to win the set 25-22. Close saves from junior Tung Lin, and strong blocks from junior Phoebe Li and sophomore Anumita Alur, also helped MVHS take the first set of their senior night game.

I thought we would lose, simply because last game we were crushed 3-0, and it was one of the worst games all season,” Alur said, “but this was a [completely] different result.”

During a close second set, with HHS and MVHS exchanging blocks, Lin, the team’s libero, dove for the ball and suffered a burn on her wrist.

“I get injured pretty often, but I just ignored it,” Lin said. “I wasn’t going to let coach bench me, so I just shook it off.”

Although MVHS lost the second set 22-25, Lin’s saves and Li’s blocks continued to be important features of the game. The players picked up their game in the third set, winning 25-22 gaining a lead.

Moving into the fourth set however, the Matadors quickly found themselves down 1-10.

Unforced errors started to pile up, but after a fierce rally comprised of senior Kelly Chen saving the ball on three separate occasions, the team started to come together and brought their deficit down to 17-25 by the end of the set.

“I think one of the main things was that it was senior night,” Lin said,  “And seeing how all the seniors wanted [the victory] so badly just pushed us to do things that we did not know we could do.”

DSC_0324 copyMVHS players huddled as HHS coaches call a timeout. The Matadors were up 17-16 in the 5th set. Photo by Aditi Gnanasekar.

The MVHS players gave it their all in the fifth set. With more communication and great stamina, successful saves and kills, the girls won the game, ending the set with a score of 20-18 and the game 3-2.

Boys water polo: The long shot against Los Altos HS

Coming off a loss against Mountain View HS four days before, the team’s morale only sank after hearing that their next opponent, LAHS, had a large selection of exceptional club players.

The game was a hard-hit for MVHS as LAHS consistently pushed their offense and securing nine goals in the second period alone. While they accidentally scored in their own goal, they only allowed two other successful goals from the Matadors.

“We went in with a losing attitude, and we already lost the game cause our mentality was that we were going to lose,” co-captain senior Sina Faridnia said.

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The beginning of the first half went slowly for both teams, majorly consisting of turnovers from out-of-range passes. But after a foul from MVHS, LAHS quickly pushed across the minimal. MVHS defense and seamlessly scored. The Matadors responded in a few scoring attempts but weren’t able to surpass the LAHS defense.

LAHS continued to score, centering their offensive game through dry passes to tamper the MVHS double-teaming.

The second quarter went no different for the Matadors, until the last five minutes. While relapsing from a turnover, an LAHS player and the LAHS goalie scrambled for the ball near the goalpost, but let it slip into the net, ending 1-13. The Matador bench was unresponsive.

Junior Damian Pow, who often brings up the ball at the beginning of plays, emphasizes the level of attention required to score more points while being so behind.

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“I think a lot of us lost focus,” Pow said. “We need to stay focused, stay on our game in order to keep the score close.”

After a break from halftime, LAHS continued to score and penetrated the MVHS defense as the recovery time grew longer with each play. But five minutes into the half, LAHS began frequently fouling, giving MVHS more possessions and eventually leading to MVHS’ first possessive goal by Faridnia.

“[The goal] didn’t feel as good as I thought it would because it took us so long to get to that point,” Faridnia said. “I felt that we should’ve been able to get there earlier.”

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Faridnia successfully scored another goal near the end of the third quarter, but the score gap was too large for the MVHS team to catch up. Though MVHS attempted several goals in the last quarter, LAHS moved quickly across the pool after several fouls and sealed the win over the Matadors by a score of 3-20.

Looking forward senior Rishi Upadhyay believes that his team is on the path to growing as a team and scoring more points.

“We have a couple new people and they’re all working hard in practice and games,” Upadhyay said. “We’re getting good as a team.”

Originally published on ElEstoque.org

Girls volleyball: Team loses to Los Gatos HS 3-2

The MVHS girls volleyball team walked into the gym on Sept. 14, hoping to beat the team that they had lost to for the past 20 years. The only time MVHS ever won against opponent Los Gatos HS was in the 2016-2017 season, and the team wanted to continue their previous success.

Even though MVHS showed outstanding defense, they fell short to LGHS, losing in a close 3-2 game. The girls had a slow start, losing the first set 25-19, but slowly got back into the game as it went on, but it wasn’t enough.

“I think our defense was amazing today, we never had better defense than this game,” sophomore Anumita Alur said. “I think in terms of pass, set, hit, we were doing pretty well, but there were a lot of unforced errors”.

As errors increased on the Matador side, the bench, Matador fans and players started to lose enthusiasm and excitement. As the game continued, the team got back into their rhythm, performing the pass, set, hit combination smoothly and seamlessly.

MVHS used this game to improve on weaknesses, and many players were assigned to play unfamiliar positions, so that they could improve. Junior Emerald Lam, was not so strong at defense, so she played defense.

“I do not usually play back row, today was the first day that I actually did it, so that was really cool, so I think improving on my backrow would help me,” Lam said.

Despite the loss, Alur is looking forward to play their next game against Los Altos HS. Alur believes that the team can hold its ground against LAHS, and hopes the next game will create another opportunity for her to work on her hitting.

“I think our next game is against Los Altos and we have not really done very well with them throughout the years,” Alur said, “so I am really charged up for that game.”

Originally published on ElEstoque.org

Girls water polo: Team wins against Milpitas HS 13-2

On Tuesday Sept. 19, the MVHS girls water polo team shouted their customary ‘1-2-3 Lady Mats!’ cheer, creating an echo that rang around the pool. MVHS played against Milpitas HS in the team’s second home game of the season. Senior Neha Mylvaganan has been playing against MHS for the last four years, and has gotten to know their team dynamics and their seniors.

“When going into the game, we came in with the mindset that we were probably going to beat them,” Mylvaganan said, “but we still wanted to try our best and to treat this as practice and really get everyone in the pool including our bench.”

The first period started off with MHS’ possession, however, MVHS quickly stole the ball and made the first goal. MHS continued to struggle for the ball but MVHS’ defense kept track of it and eventually scoring successive goals. By the end of the first period, MVHS led 3-0 leaving no room for MHS’ offense to breathe.

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During the second period, MVHS held tight control over the ball until MHS managed to steal it and score their first goal halfway into the period, with MVHS leading 5-1. The game picked up in momentum as the MVHS players looked to score. The game intensified with the shouts of the coach Chris Love, yelling at his players from the sidelines to shoot or pass the ball. For the team, they relied on these shouts to gain feedback, seeing them as helpful rather than distracting.

“[Love] yells during games but it always helps us out and his voice always rings above everyone else’s,” Mylvaganan said. “Especially for me, I’m always listening to what he’s saying, [so] even if I don’t see him, I can hear him.”

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By halftime the score was 6-1. MVHS continued the streak by playing methodically on offense in the third period, scoring a total of four goals before MHS had a chance to score. Junior Jacquelyn Loretto, a consistent MVHS scorer during the game, commented that even though MVHS scored many times, they were also given many fouls.

“You find that in water polo, you grab suits so sometimes your hands are up but they still call you as a foul. I got ejected twice in the game because they were grabbing me when I was trying to get my hands up and show that I wasn’t pushing her down,” Loretto said. “It’s just a part of water polo.”

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As a game came to an end, MVHS lost a bit of momentum, but still didn’t allow MHS to score more goals. They scored two more before the timer ran out, ending the game at 13-2. Not only was the game a solid win for MVHS, it also gave them the opportunity to work on different strategies and defense plans, including letting newcomers, such as senior Sian Yongyuth, take shots.

“I’m still learning but they wanted to get me in and get like actual experience, so that was kinda the idea they wanted everyone to learn something from the game,” Yongyuth said.

MVHS played Harker on Tuesday Sept 26.

Photos by Aanchal Garg

Originally published on ElEstoque.org