For the first time in two weeks, the Flintridge Sacred Heart
Academy girls' volleyball team was actually forced to dip into its
reserve tank to pull out a victory.
After making a relatively challenging week seem all too easy in
wins against La Canada, Arcadia and Pasadena La Salle, the Tologs had
to dig down and earn Tuesday night's nonleague victory against L.A.
Despite committing an uncharacteristic 33 hitting errors and
missing eight serves, Flintridge Sacred Heart overcame its own
miscues to post a 15-8, 10-15, 15-10, 15-7 win at home, its second
victory of the season against the Mustangs following a Sept. 16 sweep
in a fifth-place semifinal match of the Cerritos Gahr/Molten Classic.
"Marlborough is a very strong team and they're well-coached," said
Tolog Coach Nancy Tinkham, whose squad needed seven sideouts to post
a victory in the third game after leading, 14-2, and another four
sideouts to close out the match after holding a 14-4 advantage in the
"Defensively, they did a great job against us.
"Offensively, I wish we could have been a little stronger. In the
third and fourth games, it just seemed like we couldn't get the
When Flintridge Sacred Heart (7-2) was clicking on all cylinders
during certain stretches of the match, points were easy to come by
as Tinkham's squad ran off six straight to win the opening game,
eight of the first nine to open a big lead in the third and eight in
a row to open a large advantage in the fourth.
With Marlborough (4-6) focusing its defensive strategy on
containing Tolog senior outside hitter Jillian Davis -- who burned
the Mustangs for a career-high 22 kills in the teams' first meeting
-- junior opposite hitter Brittany Esser had a big night, tallying 14
kills, 16 digs, three blocks and two aces.
Still, after a slow start, Davis warmed up to record 16 kills, 10
digs and five blocks, giving her 136 kills and 132 digs in 31 games.
But despite the contributions of Davis and Esser, the Tologs --
ranked No. 4 in CIF Southern Section Division IVAA -- still had
trouble finishing off the eighth-ranked Mustangs, who recorded 54
digs and repeatedly forced Tinkham's squad to hit three and four
balls before eventually winning rallies.
"I have to find a way to get the kids to compete all the time and
motivate them to play better [in certain stretches]," said Tinkham,
whose squad surrendered five of the final six points in the second
game as Marlborough's Brittany Klienman recorded two of her team-high
"Everybody's playing well and everybody's focused, but sometimes
we suffer from a lack of enthusiasm or lack of a killer instinct."
But even with their own shortcomings Tuesday, the Tologs still had
too many weapons for a stubborn Mustang squad, with Loyola Marymount
University-bound setter Kacey Knauf amassing seven kills, six blocks,
11 digs and 46 assists.
The middle-blocking trio of Kathryn Gorsch, Kim Heller and Kelly
Herbert combined for 16 kills and 10 blocks and sophomore outside
hitter Kelly Smiland added seven kills, 14 digs and three blocks for
Flintridge Sacred Heart, which posted its fifth win against a ranked