Flintridge Sacred Heart’s goal of winning the CIF-Southern Section Division I-A championship fell one game short at Mission League rival Harvard-Westlake defeated the Tologs in four games, 24-26, 25-7, 25-21, 25-21 at Cypress College.
Sacred Heart’s Samantha Orlandini (5) stands alone with her thoughts as Harvard Westlake beat the Tologs for the CIF-SS Division I-A championship. (Pasadena Star-News Staff Photo Keith Birmingham)
Flintridge Sacred Heart head coach Shelli Orlandini holds the runner-up trophy after Harvard Westlake beat the Tologs for the CIF championship. (Pasadena Star-News Staff Photo Keith Birmingham)
By Scott Galetti, Staff Writer
CYPRESS – In volleyball, momentum is a powerful thing.
It’s an element of the game that provides confidence and a sense of being unbeatable.
Flintridge Sacred Heart’s girls volleyball team had a hold of the momentum for a game against Harvard-Westlake in Saturday’s CIF-Southern Section Division I-A finals.
The Wolverines, however, wrestled it away and never gave it back in a four-game victory over the Tologs, 24-26, 25-7, 25-21, 25-21, at Cypress College’s Charger Gymnasium.
Harvard-Westlake (26-5) earned its first Southern Section girls volleyball title since 2001, and the Tologs (28-6) fell just short of winning their first title since 1997.
It was the third loss to the Wolverines this season, fourth dating back to last year, and all but eliminated Flintridge Sacred Heart from the CIF-State playoff picture.
Emily Waterhouse paced the Wolverines with 19 kills, and sophomore Megan Norton had 18.
The Tologs had trouble with the front-court presence of Harvard-Westlake’s 6-foot-1 middle blocker tandem Krystle Higgins and Cathryn Quinn.
Higgins led the Wolverines with seven blocks, and Quinn collected 13 kills.
“If we’re going to win a match like this, we have to be able to stay in long rallies,” Tologs coach Shelli Orlandini said.
Katie Condon’s 15 kills led the Tologs, and Megan Meyers had 10.
Flintridge Sacred Heart’s defense did its part to keep the Tologs in the match.
Jenna Orlandini collected 36 digs, and her sister, Sam Orlandini, had 33 digs.
The match took a 180-degree turn between the first and second games.
Harvard-Westlake had game point at 24-22, but the Tologs took advantage of a pair of crucial unforced errors to win the game.
That’s when the roof fell in on Flintridge Sacred Heart.
Harvard-Westlake snapped a 3-3 tie in game two by outscoring the Tologs 20-2 to take an insurmountable 23-5 advantage and tie the match.
“I’m not sure what happened, I felt like the first game was so exciting and we came back and battled,” Flintridge Sacred Heart outside hitter Katie Condon said. “In the second game, I guess we gave up and stopped trying.
“We know we’re all much better than that.”
Added Orlandini: “I’d like to play the second game again. I think that mentally put a damper on the girls and we had to fight that much harder.”
Her team continued to fight as Condon’s hard kill gave the Tologs a 20-19 lead in the third game.
But Harvard-Westlake scored six of the last seven points to take control of the match.
The Wolverines snapped an 8-8 deadlock in Game 4 by outscoring FSHA 9-2 and coasted from there.