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.

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Superfan

Many MVHS students enjoy professional sports, but for some, this love extends beyond lunchtime debates and quick checks of the Bleacher Report app between classes. These devoted fans show their love in different ways, from watching every single game of the season to traveling to another state to watch their team play in their home stadium. For these so-called “superfans,” their dedication to a team has had a profound impact on their life, from instilling character values to helping them de-stress.

CONSISTENT EFFORT

Senior Manav Shah has been a Patriots fan for years. According to Shah the Patriots’ head coach, Bill Belichick, doesn’t hesitate to bench star players if they’re playing badly and plays rookies even in crucial games.

“I think that’s what makes everybody work super hard since it doesn’t matter if you’re a 10-year veteran or you’re a rookie,” Shah said. “You’re going to have to play your best every game, otherwise he’ll sit you.”

Shah tries to replicate that effort in his own life as a soccer player. He remembers being completely out of shape and jetlagged after a trip to India.

He wasn’t expecting to play. But after one of the team’s other left wing backs broke his foot, Shah had to step in.

“Obviously I wasn’t in shape [or] anything, but I just had to keep pushing myself, and eventually we tied the game 2-2 and that was enough points to get us into the next round,” Shah said.

At the end of the day, being a football fan is about watching games. For Shah, the dedication his Pats has to playing good football is fun to watch.

“It doesn’t matter where you are in the country,” Shah said. “You can follow them and then you’ll see that [you] just fall in love with the way they play and the amount of effort they put into football.”

SMALL PLEASURES

Senior Anita Narkhede’s love for the Golden State Warriors started at her club volleyball tournaments, when parents would always discuss the previous nights’ Warriors games. Catching her interest, she started watching the Warriors as well and quickly got hooked.

“It’s mostly because they play with a lot of joy,” Narkhede said. “I like how it’s a fast-paced game, but also when they’re playing, they’re always smiling, they’re always laughing, they’re always having a lot of fun.”

Compared to other NBA teams who she feels can be “too serious” at times, Narkhede feels that the Warriors have found a good balance between work and fun, one that she strives to find in her own life. Narkhede tries to look for small joys in her life rather than getting too caught up in all the work she has to do.

Unlike others, who Narkhede says worry about their future job prospects after one bad grade, she tries not to sweat over the small stuff.

“‘Oh, you had one bad day, but it won’t make a huge difference in your life,’” Narkhede said. “If you pay attention to the little things which give you joy, then it’ll have a bigger impact on your happiness.”

LOYALTY

Social science teacher Scott Victorine is unsure where his love for the Minnesota Vikings came from. As a first grader watching football for the first time, Victorine fell in love with the purple and gold.

According to Victorine, being a Vikings fan isn’t easy. Although they are currently ranked first in the NFC North division, the team has never won a Super Bowl, and hasn’t been to the Super Bowl in 41 years.

While he would like his team to win, he feels that loyalty is much more important.

“It was just important to stick with your team, cause it’s kind of like life,” Victorine said. “There’ll be ups and downs, but you don’t get to pick when they’re up and when you’re down.”

He sees this loyalty as a character trait that helps him support his friends and family. About a year and a half ago, a friend of Victorine’s went through a divorce, and he saw helping his friend through rough patches as a part of his responsibility.

“It’s not always the most uplifting conversation. But it’s important that, as a friend, I’m there, to make sure he feels supported and that ultimately, he doesn’t get too rough,” Victorine said.

Even if he doesn’t solve every problem, he feels it’s important just to be there with his friends.

As Victorine says, it’s “sticking with people when times are not only good, but [when] times are tough.”

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.

girls volleyball vs Palo Alto

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.

In the same boat: Sophomore Revan Aponso inherits his love for rowing

Sophomore Revan Aponso wakes up at 4:15 a.m. every Monday. He needs to be at the Redwood City Port by 5 a.m. When he arrives, he grabs a boat and fixes LED lights onto the boat – it’s still dark out. The crew rows for an hour, sometimes as far as twelve kilometers, and carries the boats back in, washes them and ties them up. By this time it’s 7 a.m. and Revan has to leave for school.

Revan is one of few MVHS athletes who participates in rowing. After playing both baseball and basketball, sports that he felt require athletes to start at a young age, Revan wanted a sport he could pick up later in life. His dad, who used to row, encouraged Revan to join the sport. Even though he began last year, he was able to transition pretty quickly since his teammates had similar levels of experience.

“It’s easier for you to keep up with your teammates and the other people in your club or league,” Revan said.

Revan soon realized that rowing was perfect for him. Unlike most sports, he was able to practice without feeling pressure from experienced athletes. Revan also liked the full body workout that rowing provided, without applying excessive stress on his body and causing any serious injuries.

As a high school junior in Sri Lanka, Revan’s father, Bimal Aponso, got into rowing through a friend. He rowed through high school, and started up again a couple of years ago. Bimal no longer races, although he still rows recreationally.

“Rowing is the ultimate team sport,” Bimal said.  “If everyone in the boat does not row in perfect synchrony you expend a lot of energy and get nowhere.”

Revan’s coach, Lynn Gardner, echoed this sentiment.

“Everybody has to be totally in sync, and everybody has to be able to depend on the other people in the boat,” Gardner said. “You want to know that everybody is giving a hundred percent just like you.”

Despite all the appealing aspects of rowing, Revan admits his passion  for the sport didn’t develop immediately.

“It was a growing-in period,” Revan said. “At the beginning, I remember getting up at four in the morning and [thinking to myself], ‘Wait, why am I doing this? Is it even worth it?’”

Revan cleans up after tying the team’s boat up at the dock. The team has to rinse off the boats after every practice, to prevent salt water from corroding the hulls.
Revan cleans up after tying the team’s boat up at the dock. The team has to rinse off the boats after every practice, to prevent salt water from corroding the hulls. Photo by Sannidhi Menon

Now, he has learned to love the sport, even if waking up early is still challenging. As a varsity rower, Revan has practices three times a week on the water: Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. Weekday practices usually start at 5:00 a.m., while practices on Saturdays start at 6:00 a.m. In addition to practices on the water, the team meets in its coach’s garage twice a week and practices on rowing machines, or ergs, as the crew calls them.

Every few months, Revan competes in regattas, or rowing competitions, with his team. Local regattas usually take place in Oakland or San Francisco on weekends and involve parents, coaches and rowers. Although regattas usually last the whole day, Revan states that for most of the time, he is not rowing.

“A regatta is a huge team effort,” Revan said. “Most of the time is down-time between races so it’s a great way to get to know your teammates and bond with [them] and your coaches.”

Through rowing, Revan has built strong relationships with people in his community that he wouldn’t have met otherwise, and his coach has seen him grow tremendously.

“Personality wise, he’s become more confident,” Gardner said. “He interacts with everybody a lot more – it’s kinda pulled him out of his shell.”

And on top of his personal growth, the hard work and discipline that rowing has taught Revan make him want to pursue the sport through high school and college. Experience is no limiting factor in the sport; everyone is in the same boat.

Originally published in print magazine El Estoque Oct. issue

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