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Spartans, Tologs volleyball hope to add to their winning history

Volleyball: La Cañada, Flintridge Sacred Heart, Flintridge Prep look to improve on disappointing seasons in 2012.

August 25, 2012|By Andrew Shortall and Charles Rich | By Andrew Shortall and Charles Rich
  • Madison Teodo will start at libero for the Spartans volleyball team in 2012.
Madison Teodo will start at libero for the Spartans volleyball… (Tim Berger/Staff…)

As dominant as the La Cañada High girls' volleyball program has been in recent years — winning a CIF Southern Section Division II-A championship in 2008 and reaching the title match again in 2009 — it has suffered disappointing ends to the playoffs since joining Division II-AA in 2010.

First, the top-seeded Spartans saw their season end in the quarterfinals in 2010. Last season's finish came even more unceremoniously when they fell to Mission Viejo at home in a five-game, second-round thriller.

"I had probably one of the most talented teams last year, but talent doesn't always win championships," said La Cañada Coach Brock Turner. "Even when we won in '08 and went back to the finals in '09, we had to band together and fight for everything."

Just like 2011, things are looking promising for the Spartans, who enter 2012 as the No. 2 team in the Division II-AA preseason polls and return a dangerous offense with decorated senior outside hitters Micaela Anderson and Kendall Walbrecht and senior middle blocker Katie Pierce. Anderson was the 2011 Rio Hondo League MVP with Pierce claiming the honor in 2010 and Walbrecht picking up first-team all-league and All-Area honors last season.

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"When you have the same kind of team everyone has higher expectations but maybe sometimes less effort can go into it when you have so much talent," Turner said. "There's the saying, 'Hard work will beat talent when talent doesn't work hard.' It's not like our girls didn't work hard, but maybe at times they assumed, 'Oh, we're going to win.'"

The Spartans will be favorites to win their 10th straight Rio Hondo League title coming off a 22-11, 10-0 in league season. They will be without two key starters in libero Catherine Horner and setter Kirstie Shurie this season, but Turner has called on seven sophomores to join a cast of seven seniors.

"I don't know if I've ever had this much of a mix before," Turner said.

La Cañada will rely on returning seniors Lauren Streeter, Madison Teodo and Megan Swartzlander. Streeter will start at middle, Teodo replaces Horner at libero and Swartzlander is the team's starting defensive specialist.

Turner is debating between running a 5-1, one-setter or a 6-2, two-setter lineup with senior Lisa Kramer and sophomore Leigh Sclafani vying for the position. Sophomores Jenna Gray and Taylor Page are also battling for the starting right side hitter position.

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