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Speed bump presented by San Marino could be blessing for LC

Volleyball: Spartans close out undefeated league season, but give up game to host Titans.

November 01, 2011|By Abbey Mastracco, Special to the Sun

SAN MARINO — One win was enough to satisfy the San Marino High girls' volleyball team Tuesday afternoon. The Titans took the third set in dramatic fashion from Rio Hondo League-rival La Cañada, despite ultimately ceding the match to the Spartans, 25-9, 25-21, 24-26, 25-10.

But while one set may seem somewhat inconsequential, it was no small feat seeing as it was the first Titans set win in a match against La Cañada since 2006.

"It was all heart. It seemed as if their skills were just extra," San Marino Coach Allan Vince said. "I am so proud of those girls. The girls just came together as a team. They kind of played with the same focal mind set."

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The one-game slip aside, the win also served in the continuation of Spartans dominance over the league, as they closed out the season undefeated again with their 58th straight league win in wrapping up their ninth consecutive league crown.

"It's a big game for San Marino with senior send off day. I knew it would be kind of tough." La Cañada Coach Brock Turner said. "It was nice to kind of get pushed. To come here and get pushed like this right before the playoffs is kind of a blessing in disguise."

After a prematch ceremony to honor the San Marino seniors, the first set got underway with the Spartans (21-10, 10-0 in league) absolutely dominating right from the first whistle. La Cañada cruised to a 25-9 opening-set win, but the challenge began in the second set.

The two teams played close throughout, with the Spartans holding a slight edge. While La Cañada was strong on the block, without a key blocker, 5-foot-11 Spartan Claire Hilsen, the Titans (20-5, 7-3) were able to sneak several shots past the Spartans and capitalize on mistakes.

"In the first game, we were just kind of feeling it out," Vince said. "But we quickly understood how their hitters got most of their points so the defense stepped it up and I think we played their strengths."

The Titans opened the third set with a 5-2 lead. The Spartans quickly came back to tie, but the San Marino defense dug nearly every ball and it was La Cañada that came out on the wrong end of several rallies.

After a timeout with La Cañada up, 21-18, an ace by Spartans setter Kirstie Shurie extended the lead to four points, which would be the largest deficit that the Titans would allow. San Marino won the next two points to pull within 22-20.

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