By Ryan Kuhn
PALO ALTO — University High School proved that playing away from home is not a disadvantage in the first round of the CIF State Division V tournament.
After losing in the North Coast Section championship game on Saturday, the Red Devils rebounded by sweeping Central Coast Section champ Castilleja 25-23, 25-23, 25-18 on Tuesday.
“I was nervous to play them,” said University head coach Nicole Schott. “They are a really good team. I thought our girls came out and were refocused.”
The Red Devils (27-10) started the match with an early three-point lead in the first game after senior outside hitter Katherine Evers scored points on back-to-back kills.
Evers continued to lead the offense and finished with five kills in the first game.
“We had a pretty tough game against Branson last Saturday, so we were feeling down and out, but the seniors on the team and the coaches brought us together, and said we don’t want our season to end,” Evers said.
Castilleja (20-15) fought back in the second game, with Lucy Tashman and Hannah Boland scoring nine combined kills, but despite holding a 14-8 lead, University rallied and took a 23-22 lead before sealing the game.
With just one game to go, University rallied from behind once more and finished on a 13-6 run. Evers scored the final point on an ace to win the final game and the match.
The Red Devils will hit the road again in the second round to face second-seeded Hamilton, the Northern Section champion that swept Bradshaw Christian in the first round.
This road trip will be a little bit farther than Palo Alto, as Hamilton City lies over 160 miles away and is a nearly three-hour drive from the City.
“There are no excuses,” Schott said. “It doesn’t matter what gym you are playing in. If you come out with 120 percent effort and heart, it doesn’t matter where you play.”