Tologs stun No. 1-seeded Santa Barbara in three-game sweep
Flintridge Sacred Heart’s Katie Condon (10) Celebrates with her teammates following a three-game sweep over No. 1-seeded Santa Barbara. (Pasadena Star-News Staff Photo Keith Birmingham)
Flintridge Sacred Heart players celebrate beating Santa Barbara in three games, including 25-11 in the third game, to advance to the CIF-Southern Section finals. (Pasadena Star-News Staff Photo Keith Birmingham)
FSHA headed to title match
By Scott Galetti, Staff Writer
LA CAADA-FLINTRIDGE – It was a situation that Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy girls volleyball coach Shelli Orlandini was looking forward to taking advantage of.
Her Tologs were matched up against Santa Barbara Tuesday night in the CIF-Southern Section Division I-A semifinals.
A year ago, Flintridge Sacred Heart was the higher seed and had to travel up the coast to Santa Barbara for a match won by the Dons.
This time around, the roles were switched; the No. 1-seeded Dons made the trek up the hill for a Division I-A semifinal match.
In the end, it all came down to Flintridge Sacred Heart being in the right place at the right time.
Spurred on by an enthusiastic and boisterous home crowd, the host Tologs, the No. 4 seed, used the home-court advantage to perfection to knock the Dons off their perch and themselves into the title match.
“The crowd was our seventh player tonight and it was big,” Orlandini said.
Katie Condon put down 19 kills and Flintridge Sacred Heart’s defense dug everything Santa Barbara had to offer in an impressive three-game sweep of the Dons, 25-19, 27-25, 25-11.
“It was all teamwork,” Condon said. “Every single person showed up today and everyone contributed
and it was amazing. Everything came together and nothing was going to stop us.”
The Tologs (28-5), who won the Division IV-AA title in 1996 and 1997 under former head coach and current assistant Nancy Tinkham, advanced to their first title match since 2002 and will face Mission League rival Harvard-Westlake on Saturday at Cypress College.
Harvard-Westlake swept both league matches this year en route to the league title. Now, the two teams will meet for the ultimate prize.
“We’re hoping the third time’s a charm,” Condon said.
Tologs middle blocker Camille Coffey collected eight kills, and Megan Myers had seven.
As was the case the entire season, Flintridge Sacred Heart’s stifling and aggressive defense set the tone.
“If (our opponent) is going to get a point, they have to earn it,” Orlandini said. “We won every single point.”
The Tologs trailed 9-6 in the first game. The Dons (26-7) tied the game 9-9 and 10-10 before FSHA took the lead for good.
After trailing for most of the second game, Santa Barbara scored four consecutive points to take a 22-20 lead on a kill by Kristen Dealy, who led the Dons with 15 kills.
With her team down 24-23, Tologs defensive specialist Adriana Song came up with a game-saving, diving dig to set up a kill by Condon, who would later put the Dons on the brink of elimination with a hard kill.
“She works very hard and it was amazing,” Condon said. “I knew I needed to put the ball away for my team.”
Added Orlandini: “My girls didn’t look at the score, they played for points.”
The Tologs overcame a brief 4-3 deficit in Game 3 by rolling off seven unanswered points to put the match away.
Condon’s tip for point put the Tologs on match point, and a Santa Barbara hit out of bounds on the ensuing serve put FSHA into the title match.
“After we got that lead, we all had confidence that we weren’t going to lose this game,” said Setter Sam Orlandini, who had 34 assists. “I’m so happy. Last year we went four games and this year we creamed them.”
The senior felt that having the home crowd on their side was a huge advantage for the Tologs.
“Last year we had no fans, and this year the stands were packed,” Sam Orlandini said.
After redeeming themselves against Santa Barbara, the Tologs now have a shot at redemption against Harvard-Westlake.
“Losing league to Harvard-Westlake was tough,” Sam Orlandini said. “We want to come back and beat them.”