Pali High Volleyball Upended by Granada Hills

Sadie Gray (facing) hits past Granada Hills blocker Sarah Park in Wednesday's nonleague match. / Photo: Steve Galluzzo
Sadie Gray (facing) hits the ball past Granada Hills blocker Sarah Park in Wednesday’s nonleague match. / Photo: Steve Galluzzo

Palisades High‘s girls volleyball team was on Cloud Nine after sweeping Taft in its season opener and routing LACES to open the Western League schedule, but Wednesday afternoon’s nonleague showdown with Granada Hills brought the Dolphins back down to earth.

In a rematch of last year’s City Section Division I championship match, the visiting Highlanders took command in the third set and prevailed 25-18, 23-25, 25-22, 25-14.

“We made way too many errors, but that’s a quality team and they flat-out beat us,” Pali High Coach Carlos Gray said. “We just have to play more consistent and win the serve-serve receive battle. It bothers me to lose because it puts us at a disadvantage.”

Granada Hills Coach Tom Harp expected a hotly contested  match and got one: “Anytime you play Palisades it’s going to be a battle. Just look at all the banners in here, that tells you all you need to know. It really came down to ball control. A lot of our blocks were because they didn’t get a good pass.”

The loss could negatively impact Palisades’ seeding come playoff time — a possibility both coaches acknowledged.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” Harp said. “When you lose it hurts your seeding and when you win it helps your seeding. It may be a little unfair but that’s how it is.”

Palisades opposite hitter Isabel Kelly referred to the defeat as an early wake-up call.

“We let them get big runs on us and that was the difference,” she said. “We have to improve our mental toughness, overall consistency and pay better attention to details.”

Palisades fell behind early in the first set and had to mount a late comeback to steal the second. After that, it was all Highlanders.

“They have some more powerful hitters and a setter who was good at manipulating the ball, which made it hard to adjust to where they were hitting,” Pali High setter Delaney Arth said. “At times they could predict what we were going to do.”

— Steve Galluzzo