BURBANK — The Flintridge Prep boys' volleyball team was at full strength for the first time this season and it showed as the Rebels won all three of their matches in Friday pool play at the Providence Tournament at Providence High.
The third match was against the host Pioneers, who won their first match of the season earlier in the day over St. Genevieve.
The Rebels, however, proved to be too much for Providence in a 25-20, 25-5 victory that puts Flintridge Prep in the championship game with La Salle Saturday at 3 p.m.
"It's our first tournament as a full team after getting the basketball players back," said Rebels Coach Sean Beattie, referring to seniors Harrison Jung, Chadd Cosse, Tyler Weakland and Kareem Ismail, whose basketball season ended in the first round of the Division V CIF State Basketball Championships on Wednesday. "We had one practice and it looked sketchy, so getting these games really helps."
Flintridge Prep (3-3) lost one game on the day, a 25-13 defeat at the hands of Campbell Hall. The Rebels rebounded to win the next two games, 25-22, 15-9 and rode the momentum to overwhelm St. Genevieve in a 25-13, 25-15 victory.
"We started to play well in the middle of the first game against Campbell Hall," Beattie said. "We still got blocked a couple times, but that's going to happen in volleyball. We were able to do what we wanted for the most part."
Providence, a team that is returning two players from last season's 14-10 squad, won its first match of the season and is now 1-4. Coach Josh Eggleston knows it's going to be a work in progress, but is seeing improvement.
"Right now, what we need is experience," said Eggleston, whose team lost to Campbell Hall 25-17, 25-11 before playing Flintridge Prep. "We are young in age and in years played. We just need some time together."
The Pioneers were able to keep it close against the Rebels for most of the first game, trailing by just three in the latter stages at 17-14 and 22-19. Flintridge Prep sustained a lead it acquired in the early stages at 3-2 and never looked back, scoring three of the final four points of the game.
The Rebels would not let the Pioneers get close in the second game, scoring seven unanswered points to start the game and 17 of the first 18 en route to the sweep.
"We showed that we can hang," said Eggleston of the first game. "Experience and depth pushed them over the edge. I saw us get better, though, and we just need to keep working."
Ismail led the Rebels with eight kills and added four blocks in the Providence match. Dante Fregoso complemented well with six kills. Co-captain Mike Lii led the team with 21 assists.
"I've seen them play, and they're a good team," Beattie said. "It's going to be good to play against a team like that."