MHS girls’ volleyball gearing up for playoffs

Malibu’s Carleigh Madden spikes a ball for a point in the Sharks 3-0 victory against Fillmore. Dick Dornan / TMT

The MHS girls’ volleyball team is gearing up for a successful postseason run with the California Scholastic Federation Division IVA playoffs due to begin next week. The Sharks have battled through tough competition this season to compile an overall record of 15-6, including 6-2 in Frontier League action.

Malibu High is focused on fine-tuning its game after winning three of four matches during the last two weeks. A recent 3-0 convincing victory against Fillmore at home had the Sharks excited about the rest of the season.

“We played amazing,” outside hitter Paige Stoker said. “We played with great energy and it was probably the first game that we put it out all on the court … I’m hoping we go really far in the CIF playoffs.”

Stoker, a senior co-captain for Malibu, had six kills in the 25-6, 25-15, 25-13 rout of the Flashes while senior teammate Makenzie Kizis, an opposite hitter, had a strong game as well with eight kills.

“Each individual on our team has good talents,” Kizis said. “We are athletic and energetic. We have great chemistry and everyone plays for each other.”

Kizis, Stoker and fellow seniors Carleigh Madden, Amara Gwyn and Coral Silverberg bring tremendous balance to a team that prides itself on consistency and errorless play.

“We played a very complete game,” Malibu Coach Carlos Gray said. “The girls executed very well and our goal was to eliminate errors. We didn’t want to allow our opponent to stay in the game. As you can see, when we play error-free, we are pretty good.”

The Sharks followed up the victory versus Fillmore with wins against Santa Paula, 3-0, and Carpinteria, 3-1. Only a hiccup to Grace Brethren last week prevented the Sharks from potentially winning their first league title since 2007. The Sharks’ only two losses in league play this season have come at the hands of Grace Brethren, which is ranked number three in CIF Division IVA.  

Gray, in his twelfth season as head coach of the Sharks, has been very happy with the team’s performance this season. Many of his players have been on the varsity level for two or three years now and understand the system that requires attention to detail. It has led to consistent play and a level of excellence preached by Gray.

“The strength of this year’s team is balance,” Gray said. “You can’t key on just one player on this team. Teams can’t sit on one hitter Š When we play within our system, we are a tough team to beat.”

Malibu is ranked just outside the top ten of the most recent CIF Division IVA poll. Gray feels a good seeding and a home game would justify his team’s success this year.

“I would hope for the CIF to give us a home game. We deserve it,” Gray stated. “Last season we were 12-4 and ended up at Edwards Air Force Base playing Desert High School. It was a tough, long road trip. I just hope we get something that is local. I think we will have a pretty decent shot in the first couple of rounds. But we are still not where we want to be. We will continue to progress and be ready for the playoffs.”