After finishing second at the Crescenta Valley tournament, South Pasadena earns second straight RHL championpionship with sweep over Gabrielino.
Question: Which area team has the best chance of going far in the playoffs?
By Scott Galetti, Staff Writer
SOUTH PASADENA – After finishing in second place at the Crescenta Valley boys volleyball tournament over the weekend, South Pasadena High School was riding on Cloud Nine.
It would’ve been easy for the Tigers to come back down to Earth against visiting Gabrielino on Tuesday.
But with a shot at clinching the Rio Hondo League championship, South Pasadena stayed on course in a resounding three-game sweep of the Eagles, 25-15, 25-12, 25-14.
With the win, the Tigers (15-6, 7-0) clinched their second consecutive league title, third in the past four years and fifth since their first championship in 2002.
“We had to get mentally focused and ready to play because we knew if we would have broken down, we could’ve lost one game and maybe our league title,” South Pasadena setter Chris Reid said. “We went hard today.”
Reid ran an efficient offense, collecting 29 assists and two aces to go with his 13 digs on defense.
“I didn’t feel too pumped today because I was tired from the weekend, but I’m glad that we won today because now we’re league champs,” Reid said.
Cody Carpenter put down 12 kills to lead the Tigers’ attack. Johnny Sprague notched six kills, all in the second game, and Mark Castellanos had five. Tigers senior libero David Allen had 12 digs and two aces.
“I wouldn’t say that we were commanding with our hits, but we were keeping everything in and sticking to the basics,” Carpenter said. “I think that this weekend got us into top shape because you can’t practice as hard as you play in a tournament.”
South Pasadena showed no signs of a letdown and jumped out to a 23-10 lead in the first game before Max Van Wageuingen put the game away with a kill.
“South Pas came out very strong and played very well,” Gabrielino coach Kevin McClure said.
To make matters worse for Gabrielino, the Eagles were forced to play the first game with outside hitter Tommy Tsoi at setter because starting setter David Lin and his brother Daniel Lin were taking their driving tests.
“That’s why we came out weird, and I knew we were in trouble,” McClure said.
The Tigers never lost the momentum, winning the final two games in easy fashion.
Tsoi, who had 21 kills in a four-game win over Temple City a week ago, managed just five kills to lead the Eagles (8-7, 2-6).
“The fact that he was setting in the first game doesn’t help,” McClure said.
South Pasadena can finish the league season undefeated for the first time in school history with a victory at La Caada on Thursday.
“(Winning the league title) is a great feeling, but not as much as if we can push one more, because we’ve never done that as a team,” Carpenter said.