LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — Apparently there's a purpose in scrimmaging prior to a season-opening match. As far as the members of the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy volleyball team are concerned, they learned a great deal.
Seemingly, it helped them during their opener Thursday night against visiting Upland.
Sacred Heart received 21 kills and 12 digs from outside hitter Camille Coffey and 13 kills from outside hitter Alyssa Walton en route to a 27-25, 25-16, 17-25, 25-20 nonleague home victory.
"I think we learned a lot Tuesday from our scrimmage with St. Lucy's," said Flintridge Sacred Heart first-year Coach Anne Arlie, who inherited the program from Shelli Orlandini. "You could see the desire that St. Lucy's had and played with and they had that fire to go or dig after every ball.
"We saw that we needed that same kind of desire and that showed [Thursday]."
Upland proved to be a stern test for Sacred Heart, which finished second in the Mission League last season before advancing to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division I-AA playoffs. Flintridge Sacred Heart used late rallies in each of its wins to overcome Upland.
The Tologs, who will face Burroughs in an opening-round game of the Gahr Tournament at 6:30 p.m. today, got six kills and 10 digs from opposite hitter Drew Washington, 29 assists from setter Alessandra Orlandini and 10 blocks from opposite hitter Lauren Beeton.
"We do have a lot of younger players and we want to be competitive and be leaders everywhere on the court," said Walton, one of three team captains along with Coffey and Orlandini. "I thought we had that rhythm on the court and we knew that we had to keep our momentum."
In the first game, the Tologs took a 16-11 lead on a kill by Coffey, a reigning All-Area member. Upland rallied from a 24-22 deficit to take a 25-24 lead. However, a pair of kills from Coffey and a hitting error gave the Tologs the game.
Sacred Heart jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the second game, thanks to three kills from Coffey, and never looked back. Upland responded with a strong third game before the Tologs went on a 12-8 run to clinch the fourth game.
Walton and Washington notched four and three kills, respectively, in the fourth game.
"It's a little different and a little nervewracking," Arlie said following her coaching debut. "I have some big shoes to fill, and I'm just glad that we were able to get a win under our belt."