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La Cañada, Flintridge Prep boys' volleyball set for return to postseason

Volleyball: Spartans qualify for CIF for first time in three years, Rebels take to Division IV.

May 04, 2013|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com
  • ARCHIVE PHOTO: La Cañada High boys' volleyball has qualified for the CIF Southern Section Division playoffs for the first time in three years under first-year coach Otto Lacayo, center.
ARCHIVE PHOTO: La Cañada High boys' volleyball… (Tim Berger/Staff…)

Two of the city of La Cañada’s three high school boys’ volleyball teams earned a berth into next week’s CIF Southern Section playoffs as was evident at the release of the divisional postseason pairings Saturday morning.

Rio Hondo League runner-up La Cañada High and reigning Prep League champion Flintridge Prep will represent the city when the CIF Southern Section divisional playoffs begin Tuesday evening.

The Spartans (15-10) will be visitors in the first round of the Division III playoffs as they travel to Golden West League champion Santa Ana Segerstrom (16-5) at 7 p.m.

Flintridge Prep (17-7) will host Cerritos Whitney (14-5), the Academy League third-place entry, also at 7 p.m. in the Division IV playoffs.

For the Spartans, Saturday represented a return to the postseason after a three-year hiatus.

“Most of the seniors are ecstatic. They hadn’t had a winning season in a very long time,” Spartans first-year Coach Otto Lacayo said. “A lot of credit goes to the seniors who wanted this and worked for it and taught the freshman and others how to compete.”

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As with any rebirth, experience is a key factor working against the Spartans, who have no playoff memory.

“It’s going to be really important to make sure the team sees the big picture and realizes you can’t win a CIF title without first winning a playoff match,” said Lacayo, who guided the Westridge School girls’ volleyball team to a 1-1 postseason record this fall. “Excitement is definitely something I’m going to have to watch and make sure the team doesn’t go overboard.”

The Spartans had an up-and-down finish to the season that included a hard-fought 25-22, 26-24, 25-23 loss to divisional second seed South Pasadena (24-1) in the Rio Hondo League championship match on April 25.

That effort was followed-up by a 2-4 run through the Crescenta Valley Tournament in which the Spartans were upset by league rival San Marino, 2-0, in a silver division semifinal match.

La Cañada finished up its regular season with a 3-0 win versus Gabrielino on Tuesday.

“We consider the South Pasadena match as a moral victory,” Lacayo said. “In the Crescenta Valley Tournament, we mixed in some different players and did some different things. Overall, I would say our confidence is high going into the playoffs.”

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