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La Cañada High girls' volleyball begins new chapter

Without longtime leaders, Spartans look to young, experienced group; Tologs aim high at Mission League title.

August 28, 2013|By Andrew Shortall and Charles Rich
  • La Cañada High's Megan Reilly, left, and Haley Miller practice their blocking during a practice.
La Cañada High's Megan Reilly, left, and… (Tim Berger/Staff…)

A new era for La Cañada High girls’ volleyball is set to start in 2013, while Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy starts year two under Ernest Banaag and Flintridge Prep looks to improve after graduating most of its squad.

After a surprising trip to the CIF Southern Section Division II-A semifinals, the Spartans are looking to regroup now that four-year varsity players and longtime offensive leaders Micaela Anderson, Kendall Walbrecht and Katie Pierce are gone; stepping in is a senior-less group of experienced youngsters.

Anderson, Walbrecht and Pierce, along with many teams before them, have left behind a tradition of dominance in the Rio Hondo League — 10 consecutive league titles and 67-match league winning streak — for this young group.

That’s not something La Cañada Coach Brock Turner has brought up to his team. What has happened doesn’t matter, what can happen does, he said.

“I don't make a big deal of it at all because their time is now and that's what's so important,” said Turner, whose team went 19-12, 10-0 in league in 2012. “Yeah, it's nice to look at a banner, but they weren't around. I say, 'Let's make our own history, let's put our own banner up there.'“

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While this year’s group may lack senior leadership, it’s not short on experience, with five players returning with varsity experience after Anderson, Walbrecht and Pierce all missed large chunks of the season due to injury in 2013. This year’s group is led by junior tri-captains Loren Shin (libero), Leigh Sclafani (setter) and Megan Arnold (middle blocker).

Shin (297 digs, 23 aces) was a first-team all-league selection in 2012, while Sclafani (926 assists, 118 digs and 24 aces) received a second-team nod. Outside hitters Taylor Page and Jenna Gray also return for the Spartans after getting their first taste of varsity action last year.

La Cañada has also brought up leaders from last year’s junior varsity team, including the squad’s MVP and right-side hitter Sarah Sellman and setter Erin Kim. The Spartans are also deep with solid defensive players; juniors Taylor Kramer, Missy Horner and sophomore Julia Harbolt could all see action as a defensive specialist.

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