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Spartans survive Titans to extend Rio Hondo League winning streak

Volleyball: La Cañada increases Rio Hondo League winning streak to 62 matches with tightly-contested win over San Marino.

October 09, 2012|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — Matchup-wise, the La Cañada High girls' volleyball team appeared to be heavy favorites going for its 62nd straight Rio Hondo League victory over a significantly smaller San Marino squad at home Tuesday.

While the deck wasn't stacked in their favor, the Titans came out with all the energy and appeared poised to take the Spartans to a full five games before La Cañada defensive specialist Megan Swartzlander led her squad on a big run to deliver a four-game win over San Marino, 25-21, 25-27, 25-20, 25-18.

"We are missing a lot of players so we just didn't have it all together, and energy," said Swartzlander of why San Marino was so tough to knock off. "They had way more energy and were cheering louder. They wanted it more, I think."

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The Titans (8-6, 1-3 in league) were unable to take it, although it did seem the match was destined for five games when San Marino took a 17-10 lead in the fourth frame on a Cherie Chow kill.

Micaela Anderson, who finished with 11 kills and five blocks, got the Spartans (8-7, 4-0) service when she drilled a kill on the ensuing play. Down but not out, La Cañada tallied 10 straight points with Swartzlander serving, as she recorded three straight aces during the run, to put the Spartans ahead, 21-17, for the first time in the game.

"There was no way [we were out of it]," said Swartzlander, who a tied for the team-high in digs with 15. "I know that we're a good team and I knew we could do it."

La Cañada Coach Brock Turner said it was one of the only spots in the match where the Spartans got pumped up, which may have been a result of being down their vocal leader and libero Madison Teodo, who was sick, and senior middle blocker Katie Pierce, who's been out all year and is expected to return at the end of the month.

"We were way behind," Turner said of the fourth game. "I wasn't ready to count the game out, but we lacked energy. Then [Swartzlander] got us on this run and she's done it before. Thanks to Megan for serving tough. We always preach serve tough, pass tough and you'll win a lot of games — credit to her."

San Marino's Stephanie Dustin broke the 11-0 streak when she fired a kill, but the Titans wouldn't score again with La Cañada closing out the match on a 4-0 run with two kills from Lauren Streeter (14 kills, five blocks) and one each from Anderson and Kendall Walbrecht, who finished with a match-high 20 kills, 15 digs and two aces.

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