In what has become the fiercest volleyball rivalry in the Public League, it was no shock to see Payton face Young in the Public League playoffs. This year the Grizzlies swept the Dolphins 25-16, 25-19 in Wednesday’s semifinals at Northside.
The win sends Payton (25-7) to its fifth consecutive Public League final, of which its won three of the last four. Young was looking to make its third final in a row and show the same consistency its counterpart has over the years.
“The fact Payton has been there five years now just goes to show all the hard work that goes into what we do,” the Grizzlies’ Lincoln Wang said. “We build something and know that we need to keep working to keep it going.”
The match started out quickly in the Dolphins’ favor, as they used five Grizzlies errors to build a 6-3 lead. That all changed when Anthony Charletta stepped up to the service line after a Young service error brought the score to 6-4.
Charletta led the Grizzlies on a 6-0 run to give them a 10-6 lead, one they would not relinquish.
Young did manage to cut the lead to 19-13, but the Grizzlies forced the Dolphins into four errors the rest of the game and pulled out the Game 1 win.
The second game started out evenly until Wang went on a big scoring run at the service line to turn a 10-7 Payton lead into 14-7.
“We were playing really well,” Wang said. “It seemed like everything was just clicking.”
The big lead allowed Payton coach Casey Feeney to tinker with the lineup, inserting some reserves down the stretch. A Schultz kill put the match away.
Schultz finished with seven kills while fellow senior Alex Brown had a team-high nine. Noah Stanton and Alan Nguyen each had three kills for Young (15-16).
“Four city finals in four years is pretty remarkable,” said Schultz, who has been on varsity since his freshman year. “I know I wasn’t expecting it but it just shows what we’ve built.
“It’s a little weird to face Young in the semifinals, but they’re a different team than they were before, but so are we. You just need to be ready. And we were.”