By Jeremy Balan
Behind dominating service play, Jewish Community High School of the Bay swept Kehillah Jewish High School 25-16, 25-8, 25-21 on Sunday at Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto.
The Wolves (5-2, 5-0) had more service aces (21) than they had kills (20). Juniors Naomi Gillmor and Sophie Navarro led the way with a match-high five aces apiece.
“We’re a really strong serving team,” said Jewish Community senior captain Jessica Katzki, who had three aces of her own. “We try to keep it balanced and work on everything, but we have some physically strong girls who serve really well.”
With the win, the Wolves remain undefeated in Private School Athletic League play and sit atop the Bay Division tied with Mid-Peninsula for first place.
“It’s nice to have that feeling, that we’re the team to beat,” said Jewish Community head coach Marie Cabugos. “I know I have a great group of girls and I’m aiming for those playoffs.”
When the Wolves weren’t scoring points on aces, they were getting consistent kills from middle hitters Florencia Hasson and Paige Lerman. Hasson had eight kills and Lerman, only a freshman, had a match-high nine kills to go along with three aces.
“The last few games she hasn’t been as consistent as she usually is,” Cabugos said of Lerman. “We’re trying to get her to be a smarter middle hitter with her timing on her blocks and her hits, but she’s a force to be reckoned with and I’m excited to see [how she improves] at the end of the season.”
The Wolves’ win comes after a disheartening three-game non-league loss to Mission on Tuesday.
“We got really intimidated [against Mission], not only by the fans, but by the height of their girls,” Katzki said. “We didn’t play our best, but this game we came back and played really strong.”
Still, after dominating the first two games, the Wolves nearly allowed Kehillah (1-4, 1-3) to rally from a large deficit in the deciding third game. Cabugos often found herself shaking her head while the Wolves committed 16 unforced errors in the game.
“We still have to work on our communication and our timing with our hits,” Cabugos said. “In volleyball it’s all about momentum and when we have that communication and they’re together as a team, we’ll be unstoppable.”