Flintridge Prep boys' volleyball secures share of fourth straight league championship

LA CAÑADA — For a group of Flintridge Prep boys' volleyball seniors that has been with the program for four years, it has not experienced much losing in Prep League competition.

The group has suffered just one league setback over that four-year span. Along with all that winning, the Rebels have captured a string of league championships.

In defeating visiting Firebaugh, 25-18, 26-24, 25-17, Wednesday, Flintridge Prep secured a share of its fourth straight Prep League title.

The Rebels (16-2, 7-0 in league), who are ranked No. 3 in CIF Southern Section Division IV, can win the championship outright with a victory Tuesday at Rio Hondo Prep. Flintridge Prep defeated Rio Hondo Prep in four games April 13.

With the victory against Firebaugh (2-5 in league), the Rebels improved their league mark to 30-1 the last four years.

"It's kind of ridiculous to have that record in league for our teams the last four years," said Flintridge Prep Coach Sean Beattie, whose team advanced to the CIF semifinals and played in the state tournament last season. "You take a guy like Dante [Fregoso], who has been a starter since his freshman year, and he has gone 30-1 in league and that's absolutely amazing.

"We are looking to close it out and make it 31-1 with a win on Tuesday for the outright league championship. That is a great accomplishment to win four straight and I think that eight titles are how many we've had in general."

Fregoso, the 2015 All-Area Boys' Volleyball Player of the Year, made his presence known against Firebaugh. The senior tallied a match-high 12 kills to go with 11 digs. Fregoso added to his Flintridge Prep record for career kills and how has 1,339.

Jonathan Samuels added 10 kills on 13 swings, Matt Wang had 15 digs and Aldridge Khin added 38 assists.

After falling in a nonleague match Tuesday against Temple City, the Rebels came out a big sluggish against the Falcons.

"Firebaugh was a scrappy team, but we played yesterday and we lost and I think we were a little tired from that," Fregoso said. "We just didn't come out as great as we should have. Firebaugh played a really good game and they pushed us."

The first game was a close one early on. The Rebels were finally able to pull away from the Falcons at 17-10 following a kill by Miles Johnson.

In the second game, Firebaugh took a two-point lead, 17-15, on a kill by Luis Bermudez. The Rebels were able to battle back and an ace by AJ Nicassio gave the hosts a 19-18 advantage. Although the Falcons couldn't surge ahead, they stayed close, tying the score at 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24. Flintridge Prep went ahead 25-24 on a kill down the left side by Fregoso and won the game on an ace by Nicassio.

Flintridge Prep held just a 17-16 lead in the third game. However, the Rebels finished off the stanza on an 8-1 run, fueled by five kills from Fregoso.

"Sometimes when you play against a team that's scrappy and they can suck the energy out of you," said Beattie, whose squad also swept Firebaugh on April 12. "The big hits that usually go down, they dive and they get the ball over and that can frustrate you.

"We have some guys who are sick and some guys who are battling through some other things. So I told them to just get through today and I'll give them tomorrow off."