ST. LUCY’S REPEAT: La Salle’s Renasssiance Forster (11) scores against St. Lucy’s Veronica LaPierre (11) during Wednesday’s nonleague match. The visiting Regents won in five games.
Staff photo by Keith Birmingham
By Keith Lair, SGVN
GLENDORA – It is nearly two months before the CIF-Southern Section volleyball playoffs begin.
But La Salle and St. Lucy’s Priory high schools did not act as if it was that far off on Wednesday evening. The teams acted as if the nonleague match was the CIF-SS Division 1A finals.
Heck, it could have been. The teams met for the Division 2AA title last year. Wednesday, the Regents managed to survive a five-game, 2-hour, 15-minute marathon.
“These are matches that get you ready for CIF,” St. Lucy’s coach Sean Douglas said. “What a great match it was.”
St. Lucy’s, which has not lost to La Salle the last four times they have met in the last three years, including two playoff matches, prevailed 28-30, 25-20, 25-18, 22-25, 15-12.
“That was mentally and physically exhausting,” Regents senior Vanessa Caustrita said. “I knew we could do it. It’s La Salle. Mentally we knew it would be a tough game and it was. They are very scrappy.”
It was the first time either team had played a five-game match this season. It was also the first time that La Salle (18-2) has scored a game off the Regents (7-5) in those three years.
“We just have a mental block against them,” La Salle coach Tiare Tuitama said. “That’s all it is. When it’s St. Lucy’s we have problems. They are one of the better teams we have seen this season so far.”
Both teams, obviously, have visions of meeting again in the playoffs, preferably in the championship match again. And as they played on Wednesday, it is possible that either team could emerge as a champion.
“It’s sad because we have lost to them three years in a row,” Lancers sophomore Haley DeSales said. “We know we’re going to see them in the CIF finals. I’m just hoping we can bring it back to them next time.”
St. Lucy’s, ranked second, outscored La Salle, ranked fifth, by a meager 6-3 down the fifth-game stretch.
Tied at 9, the Lancers hit a kill attempt into the antenna to give the Regents the lead. Caustrita hit one of her match-high 15 kills and Dianna Rohrer had one of her three blocks for a 12-9 margin.
“They stayed with what they did and we stayed with what we did and it was pretty close,” Douglas said. “We made a lot of critical errors and we were able to overcome them. I think that was our big thing. We made mistakes and we bounced back.”
A misdirected shot by sophomore setter Alyssa Tavera, followed by one of her three aces – two in the fifth game – made it 12-11. Rohrer had one of her nine kills and freshman Loryn Carter had one of her 10 kills to make it 14-11. After a sideout, Carter came right back with a smash up the middle to win the match, and for the Regents to celebrate almost like it was a third consecutive CIF-SS title.
“It’s a preparation for the CIF finals,” Caustrita said. “I trust these girls. I’ve played with them for four years.”
The teams looked tentative at times, frequently unable to get the ball in on serves, but when the ball was in play, there were marvelous kill attempts with big digs by both the Lancers, led by Caroline Knop, and the Regents, led by Arden Davis.
After La Salle won the first game, St. Lucy’s appeared like it would win in four. But DeSales took over.
The sophomore had her hand in six consecutive points, either blocks or kills. She had three of her seven kills and all four of her blocks in the game.
“I yelled at those girls,” DeSales said of the start of the fourth game. “I said they better come out and work their butts off. But in the fifth game I think we lost our momentum. It was really intense.”
The Regents served seven aces, including three consecutive by Veronica LaPierre, who also had 11 kills.
“Our serve-receive was not what it should have been,” Tuitama said.