The Matadors combined record in the last two years is 71-8, with a 31-1 league record. According to head coach Paul Chiu, who is entering his 11th year as the MVHS coach, another reason for the team’s success was the chemistry the class of 2019 created with each other and with Chiu.
“I coached seven of them at Kennedy MS when they were eighth graders. At that moment in time, only one of them played club volleyball,” Chiu said. “They got into volleyball as eighth graders and they grew up together. They cared about each other, they played for one another. They had a work ethic unlike any senior class I've had in my 10 years here.”
Even though MVHS has dominated in the past two years, Yang believes that the team was far from perfect.
“We were pretty dominant winning those championships,” Yang said. “However, it's not like we went undefeated every year or that the teams were no challenge to us in both of those NorCal finals. We still went to five sets, and those sets went down to scores like 15-13 or 16-14. It was definitely a challenge to win those games.”
Former MVHS player Kevin Mathew dawns a look of disbelief after MVHS captures its second straight Norcal championship. Mathew was the starting setter for both championships wins.
Yang believes that these wins by the Matadors in the 2018 stretch gave the team some notoriety across the state. According to junior Brandon Ng, this success placed “a target on their back” in the 2019 season.
“Everyone wanted to beat us and then [we had to] just go in and not let that happen,” Ng said. “Just coming in every game no matter who the opponent was ranging from teams like Harker to teams like Los Altos, that mentality was still strong the entire season, we were able to make sure that everything we needed to get done got done.”
Ng explains that even though MVHS was able to win, the team had showed signs of overconfidence last season because of previous successes.
“We had a couple of games last season where we came into the first set totally expecting a win,” Ng said. “For example, against Cupertino, who had only seven players and four of their regular starters, we came in and lost the first set. And our overconfidence [caused us to implode]. We had to get back into our mindset of, ‘We're not the team we were the year before,’ we still had to get back up to that level.”