It was all about respect for the Palisades High boys volleyball team last Tuesday night in the first round of the CIF Southern California Regional playoffs.
After sweeping Chatsworth in the City finals to earn the No. 4 seed—their highest ever—and a home match in the eight-team Division I bracket, the Dolphins were determined to prove their spot was justified against South Torrance, a team aching to avenge its close loss in the semifinals of the Redondo Classic on April 28.
The teams split the first two sets and the Spartans held a 23-21 in the third before Akhil Tangutur got a kill, Miles Partain hit an ace and Tangutur got a kill to give the Dolphins a 24-23 lead. The teams traded points until Scott Stuart’s kill on the fourth set point.
The fourth set went down to the wire as Palisades tried to finish the visitors off. A kill by Stuart gave the Dolphins a second match point and a block by Justin Howard sent the gym into delirium as fans rushed the court to celebrate.
“You’re not going to tip your way out of the state quarters,” Pali High assistant coach Dave Suarez said. “If you get blocked so be it, but you have to swing away.”
Palisades (34-3) got swept by top-seeded Corona del Mar in the semifinals, but made a statement.
“When you get this far every team you play is lights out,” Pali High head coach Carlos Gray said. “Our kids wanted to show that City teams deserve respect.”