Boys volleyball: Coach celebrates 200th career win against Los Altos HS

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The MVHS crowd full of attentive parents cheered as sophomore Apoorv Pachori prepared to serve. The Matador bench yelled “push one” with the score at 24-19, and sophomore Gautham Dasari closed the game with a clear kill. This point would not only add on to the Matadors’ league win streak, but would also mark Chiu’s 200th career win with MVHS.

On April 6, the MVHS boys volleyball team defeated LAHS in straight sets, giving Chiu his 200th win as MVHS head coach.

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Sophomore Apoorv Pachori sets the ball for sophomore Rajas Habbu. The Matadors had many clean kills that contributed to the three-straight-set win.

Despite the high expectation to defeat LAHS, Chiu reminded his team to focus on the basics, even if they were undefeated. Since they had control over the game, MVHS hoped to use the matchup as a practice opportunity for select players to work on specific moves.

I just needed to make sure the guys would focus, and execute the basics and fundamentals,” Chiu said. “I look[ed]for opportunities to coach a more specific item.”

The beginning of the first set went smoothly for MVHS with clean kills from Dasari and sophomore Rajas Habbu. The Matadors were up 21-11 when LAHS rebounded with clean kills, several of which junior Jason Shen failed to return with his signature dives.

The LAHS crowd chanted, and captain senior Prathik Rao, who was sidelined with an ankle injury, clapped along to the Eagles’ cheers.

Junior Jason Shen attempts to save the ball from a smash from Los Altos HS.

Junior Jason Shen attempts to save the ball from a smash from Los Altos HS. Photo by Rana Aghababazadeh

But LAHS didn’t stay close behind for long. The Matadors started returning the Eagles’ hits and won the first set 25-15.

The second set began with uncontested plays from MVHS, leaving the boys clapping and smiling. It was clear their spirits were raised when junior Christopher Liou saluted to sophomore Kevin Mathew after a block by Liou. Meanwhile, Chiu leaned back, gripping his clipboard with a content yet stern expression, hoping players like senior Yash Hegde didn’t neglect the competitive atmosphere.

“[Hegde]’s always gotta be setting to score a point, not to run a certain play, or to fulfill a certain need,” Chiu said.

The third set went slowly for the Matadors as they did not lead by as large of a margin. After a timeout almost halfway through the set, Dasari followed through with three kills, giving the Matadors a five-point lead and the game a score of 15-10. The Matadors went on to execute clean returns and win the match in the third and final set by a score of 25-19.

Head coach Paul Chiu accepts the tribute given to him by the boys volleyball team. This is Chiu's 8th season with MVHS volleyball. Photo by Rana Aghababazadeh.

Head coach Paul Chiu accepts the tribute given to him by the boys volleyball team. This is Chiu’s 8th season with MVHS volleyball. Photo by Rana Aghababazadeh.

After the final score from Dasari, the boys surrounded their coach, shouting and clapping each other’s backs in assurance. They presented Chiu with a volleyball spray painted in gold with the signatures of all the players to celebrate his 200th win in the past eight seasons.

“I feel touched, I’m pretty psyched,” Chiu said. “I did it all at [MVHS], and there’s always so much I do. The rest of it is the team, it’s ultimately the team, the boys.”

 

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Rana is a first-year staff writer in Special Report. She enjoys playing the piano and watching movies.