Dolphins Push Carson to Five Sets

By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor

Facing its toughest challenge so far this season, the Palisades High girls varsity volleyball team matched Carson point for point to force last Tuesday’s nonleague showdown to a decisive fifth set.

However, the visiting Colts closed on a 7-3 run to finish off a 25-12, 25-27, 25-19, 18-25, 15-11 victory in a contest that could impact seeding should the teams meet again in the playoffs. It was the Dolphins’ first regular season loss to a City Section opponent since a four-set home defeat to Granada Hills in 2015.

Senior Annie Wibbelsman spikes over a Taft blocker in Saturday’s gold division semifinal match at the Venice Invitational.
Photo: Steve Galluzzo

Each program has dominated its league for years. Carson has won eight straight Marine League titles and 52 consecutive league matches dating back to 2013.

Palisades has been even more unbeatable in the Western league. Entering yesterday’s home match against Fairfax, the Dolphins had won 89 league matches in a row and they are vying for their eighth straight league crown. Their last league setback was a sweep at the hands of Venice on Oct. 18, 2010 under former coach Chris Forrest.   

Palisades trailed Carson 20-14 in the second set but took the lead on a seven-point serving run by Ashton Evans. The Colts saved three set points before Palisades leveled the match at a set apiece.

Reigning City Player of the Year Alex Laita sat out the match with an injury, but the Dolphins built a 17-10 lead in the fourth set on their way to evening the match.

“If we see them again we’ll be ready,” Coach Carlos Gray said.

Palisades’ Ally Biershenk (left) and Alexa Hogan block Carson hitter Eirene Taase in last Tuesday’s nonleague match.

On Friday, the Dolphins swept  Lincoln, Bell and Narbonne at the Venice Invitational. The next day they swept SOCES, Marshall and St. Monica to set up a semifinal tilt versus Taft. The Dolphins beat Taft on their way to the title last year, but this time the Toreadors prevailed, 23-25, 25-11, 15-11. Junior outside hitter Annie Eckert made the All-Tournament team.