Perfection is seldom achieved in any sport, but Palisades High’s boys volleyball squad attained that rarity in the first set of its Western League contest against visiting Hamilton on March 20, 2019. The Dolphins received serve to open the match and outside hitter Akhil Tangutur hammered a kill down the line to give the home team a side out. Marcus Partain stepped to the baseline and proceeded to serve 24 straight points, pounding 10 aces along the way, while Tangutur had nine kills to complete a 25-0 shutout—almost unheard of at any level in the era of rally scoring. “It isn’t like we were trying to do that, it just kind of happened,” said Palisades assistant Dustyn Woropay, who was coaching the Dolphins in head coach Carlos Gray’s absence. “I figured that at some point he’d miss a serve, but he never did. When we got to 19 or 20 points I considered subbing him out, but I figured we’d just let Marcus keep going. It doesn’t happen very often and I think the team would’ve been mad at me if I subbed him out there. I don’t think the guys had seen that before, either. It used to happen a lot more with the old side-out scoring system.” Palisades took the last two sets 25-8, 25-9 to finish the sweep. The Dolphins swept the rematch one month later on their way to defending their league title (not dropping a set in 12 matches) and went on to capture their third straight City Section championship. After sweeping Saddleback Valley Christian in the first round of the CIF SoCal Regional Division I playoffs the Dolphins fell to Mira Costa in the semifinals—only their third defeat in 45 matches—ending the program’s winningest season ever. Partain, the team’s senior setter and captain, was named City Player of the Year and won Pali High’s Rose Gilbert All-Around Achievement Scholarship that June. He went on to UCLA, where he got a taste of collegiate volleyball this year and will be joined in Westwood by his younger brother Miles in 2021.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.