PaliHi Girls Volleyball Headed for the Top

By Sue Pascoe

If you plan on seeing the Palisades High girls volleyball team play, come early or you might miss most of the action.

On Sept 14, the Dolphins dispatched University High School in three quick games, 25- 10, 25-7 and 25-10. The team is undefeated after three Western League matches, and 15-1 overall after playing in two tournaments.

Ranked 40th in the state, Pali’s only loss was against JSerra in the quarterfinals of the Queen’s Court Challenge in Anaheim, 25-15 and 25-16. JSerra, the eventual champion, is ranked 9th in California.

The PaliHi girls volleyball team beat University 3-1.
Photo: Lesly Hall Photography

Head coach Carlos Gray was asked about league and how competitive it is. “Well, Venice took a game from us,” said Gray, who has been coaching girls volleyball for 24 years and is in his fifth year at Pali. “We don’t get pushed in our league.”

Gray lost only three seniors from last year’s team, which lost to Granada Hills in the City Section Open Division finals. Seeded 16th, the Dolphins lost to No. 1- seed Huntington Beach in the first round of the CIF regional playoffs.

Like many of the sports at PaliHi, girls volleyball usually goes relatively unchallenged in Western League action. So, to prepare for the playoffs, Gray said, “we play in tough tournaments,” including the upcoming competitions in Redondo and Malibu. The Dolphins played a tough non-league game against El Camino last Friday, winning 3-1 (25-21,26-28, 25-16, 25-23).

Senior Chloe Uhls serves the ball.
Photo: Lesly Hall Photography

Gray’s biggest challenge is to keep his players focused during the regular season so they’re ready for playoffs. “We just started a new offense,” he said. “We’re trying to be more competitive.”

The team’s biggest challenge in league is Venice, a team it has already beaten. In the City Section, Gray lists Carson, Granada Hills, Taft and El Camino as perennially tough opponents—but PaliHi beat Carson (3-0) on September 5, Taft (2-1) on September 9 and El Camino (3-1).

“I make sure our practices are competitive,” Gray said. “I have high expectations.” The team’s next home match was on Sept. 20, against Westchester. Venice will come to town for a 4:30 p.m. showdown on October 2.

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