Early rally sparks Tologs

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — After what the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy volleyball team did to visiting Chaminade in the first game of Tuesday’s Mission League match, it was hard to imagine the Tologs losing to the Eagles.

And, even though Chaminade refused to be deflated by losing a 12-point lead with eight points to go in the opening game and came back strong in the very next one, it was an outcome Sacred Heart made sure to avert, holding on for a 25-20, 25-20, 25-18 win to improve to 3-0 in league.

“I think we just had trouble adjusting to how they were playing, it was a new team,” said junior outside hitter Camille Coffey, who led the Tologs with 22 kills, of falling behind Chaminade, 17-5, in the first game before rallying. “We just didn’t give up, we made our adjustments and we just played well. I’m really proud of my girls for not giving up. We played with a lot of heart.”

The Eagles came out swinging with the Tologs seemingly unable to mount an effective block or a cohesive passing game. Within minutes, the stunned Tologs found themselves down by 12 on a Heather Garcia kill that forced Sacred Heart Coach Shelli Orlandini to call her second timeout of the game.

“We haven’t seen a real strong Chaminade team in a long time and they have a big front row and some pretty decent hitters and they took us off guard,” Orlandini said. “At the start of the game, we couldn’t do anything right, but the thing is we knew they had some weaknesses and we just needed to expose them.”

The Tologs (14-5-1) started by attacking vulnerabilities in the Eagles’ serve-receive and picking out weak spots in the rotation on their front row.

Coffey had a lengthy nine-point service run, including three consecutive aces, that nearly brought Sacred Heart all the way back. After leading, 17-5, Chaminade was outscored, 18-2, by which point Sacred Heart had claimed a 23-19 lead, and completely shut down offensively, with the Eagles’ only two points in that span coming off Tologs service errors.

Coffey sealed the comeback and the game win with a kill.

Chaminade (6-12-1, 1-2 in league) was surprisingly resilient in the second game, keeping things close at 17-17 before Sacred Heart made another finishing surge keyed by a Coffey kill and a kill and a block from senior middle blocker Mary Schroeder (eight kills).

“They’re gonna come back harder after losing, we always do,” Coffey said. “We always expect teams to do that and we want to keep pushing hard the entire match, no matter how many games you go to.”

Sophomore libero Shelby Tom had 14 digs and sophomore setter Alessandra Orlandini picked up 19 assists, while senior Jordan Terwilliger totaled 12.

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