SWEPT AWAY: La Salle players celebrate after a point during their nonleague match against Flintridge Sacred Heart. The visiting Lancers scored a three-game sweep.
Photo By Sarah Reingewirtz
By Keith Lair, SGVN
LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE – La Salle High School girls volleyball coach Tiare Tuitama covered her face in an OMG moment. Coaches on her bench raised four fingers.
The Lancers were not calling out a play. They were signalling how many times officials had called her team for an illegal rotation.
“That’s the first time we’ve done that this year,” Tuitama said. “We had a couple of bad serves and a couple of shanked shots which gave them momentum. But we held in there.”
The Lancers overcame the alignment, and other issues, to hold off pesky Flintridge Sacred Heart for a very tough three-game nonleague victory on Tuesday evening.
“That’s part of our inexperience,” Lancers sophomore Haley DeSales said. “We have a lot of new people on this team. We all have to adjust to our new rotations. It is still early in the season.”
La Salle (19-2) committed more than rotation errors in the 25-19, 25-21, 25-21 victory. There were service errors and missed sets. Solid play from the Tologs certainly contributed to those miscues.
“We’ve been talking about being consistent and we were a little bit iffy here and there,” said La Salle’s Jessica Kennedy, who had nine kills. “We got it together. It could have been a little more clean, but we did well.”
It was La Salle’s second consecutive matchup against an all-girls Catholic school. St. Lucy’s defeated La Salle in five games last week.
The match, which has seemingly become another instant west San Gabriel Valley fierce rivalry, had the same intensity and level of play as last week’s match.
“Its always hard playing them,” Tuitama said. “The girls schools and the rivals. All the girls play club with and against each other, so it’s a little more personal. There is just this history. Before I came here last year, I had no idea this is what it meant.”
It was also the second time the teams have faced off. La Salle defeated Flintridge Sacred Heart in four games in the season-opening Gahr tournament.
The Tologs did not get a game this time, but they came, oh so close, despite being well behind in several games. Flintridge Sacred Heart trailed, 10-2, in the second game, but came back for leads of 18-17 and 21-20. They trailed, 14-9 and 18-13, in the third game, rallying for a 21-19 lead.
“This (match) helps us a lot,” Tologs first-year coach Ernest Banaag said. “We know we can compete. We might not win all of the games, but we can compete. That’s what we’re trying to build here, although it might not be this year.”
Tuesday was exactly what Banaag wanted to see from his young team, he said.
“For us to hang in there and make it close every single game. That’s what we’re trying to implement,” he said. “It’s not a matter if we’re better. It’s can they compete with them? They showed me they can compete. If we can continue to play like that, we’ll be better in the future.”
Emily Develle’s ace gave the Tologs a 21-20 lead in the second game. But then that lack of experience Banaag said the Tologs are still lacking came into play.
A serve went wide and a soft return went into the net to give the Lancers a 22-21 lead. Renaissance Forster blocked a shot, the Tologs were called for a lift and Jessica Kennedy hit a kill.
DeSales took over in the third game with the Tologs ahead, 20-19.
A Tologs lift tied the game and Riley Spriesterbach gave the Lancers the lead with a block. DeSales hit back-to-back aces and La Salle was safely on to its sweep.
“We’re doing a much better job,” DeSales said. “We’re getting those (error) points right back. We’ll give up the lead and we’ll get them right back.”
DeSales had match highs of 13 kills, three blocks and three aces. Katie Conley led the Tologs with seven kills.