LA CRESCENTA — At the onset of Thursday’s match, there was only one game in the standings separating the Crescenta Valley High girls’ volleyball team from Arcadia and a share of the Pacific League title.
Once the match started, however, the Falcons could do little to prevent the Apaches from pulling farther and farther away and ultimately securing the league crown outright through a 25-11, 25-15, 25-7 victory.
Aside from an energetic start to the match and a strong second-game rally, Crescenta Valley spent most of the afternoon trying in vain to chip away at a large Arcadia lead, a task made more difficult by an air-tight virtually error-free performance from the Apaches.
“When you’re behind, you get tense and more frustrated,” Crescenta Valley Coach Jennifer Ryan said. “It just builds and it all adds up for the team behind.”
With a large home crowd on hand for the playoff-bound Falcons’ regular-season finale, Crescenta Valley fired up the building by taking an immediate lead in the first game.
The Falcons led, 5-4, before Arcadia (15-1, 13-1 in league) mounted a 5-0 run to take its biggest lead up to that point, 9-5.
Ryan called a timeout, which was followed immediately by an 8-3 Apaches spurt that had the Falcons (14-10, 11-3) reeling.
Another timeout did nothing to slow the Apaches from closing out Game One in authoritative style.
“We were trying to correct some things that we were doing wrong and then I was trying to break their momentum and get it to go our way,” Ryan said. “It didn’t happen. [The Apaches] are a good team and they don’t make mistakes.”
Arcadia’s run continued into the second game, when the Apaches built an 8-3 lead.
With Kim Cox serving, and Jessica Dieny and Leah Gagliardi each notching kills, the Falcons evened the score at 8 and forced Arcadia to call its own timeout.
Crescenta Valley stayed close at 12-11 before a 6-1 Arcadia run changed the tide again.
Arcadia pulled away for good on back-to-back kills by Anne Marie Tangorra and set up game point on an ace by Taylor DeGraf.
Tiffani Wilcox’s kill that narrowed Arcadia’s lead to 6-2 was as close as the Falcons would get in the landslide third game.
Still, Ryan said her team has a lot to be proud of from the regular season and plenty to look forward to when the CIF playoff pairings are released on Sunday.
“We had a good season and there’s no doubt about it,” said Ryan, whose team finished in a second-place tie in league with defending champion Burroughs. “It’s horrible to lose on the last game of the season, on senior day and all that, but overall, they had a really good season and it was a lot of fun.
“They have to look at the big picture and not just focus on today’s game.”
GABRIEL RIZK covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3226 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.