NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Even though the girls' volleyball teams from Glendale Adventist Academy and San Gabriel Academy no longer share residency in the Westside League, Tuesday afternoon's matchup still had all the passion and intensity of a late-season league battle.
"They're our sister school, so this [rivalry] has been forever between the two schools," Glendale Adventist Coach Bianka Tulgar said. "It will always be a rivalry. No matter where we are, it will always be that way."
The host Cougars, who are now in the Liberty League, and the defending Westside League-champion Eagles opened the latest chapter in their ongoing saga with San Gabriel surviving a Glendale Adventist surge in the middle stanza to pull off a 25-15, 26-24, 25-10 sweep.
"We're still rearranging our lineup from the loss of [Andrea Blake]," Tulgar said of her middle blocker, who is likely to miss the next four weeks with a sprained ankle. "Our rotation has changed a little bit. …We haven't had a practice because we had a game yesterday and today, so our practice has been in the games.
"We made some freshman mistakes and we're going to try and get better."
The Cougars (1-5) played well enough in the second game to nearly even the match at 1, but couldn't hold a three-point lead with game point.
Ashley Bautista got a tough ball up and just barely over the net on a third touch to cap a 6-3 Cougars run and secure a 24-21 lead.
But the Eagles (2-0) scored the next six points unanswered on a run that included an ace and a kill by Eriazmin Mauries, who, along with teammate Ali Santanello, led all players with six kills.
"It was one of our better games," Tulgar said. "Unfortunately, we lost steam as we headed into the third game. We could have had it, it was there and we just couldn't close it out, unfortunately."
Falling behind early was a detriment to Glendale Adventist in every game. The Cougars trailed, 5-0, in the first game, 7-0, in the second and fell behind early, 10-3, in the final game.
But whereas comebacks allowed the Cougars to get back within a few points in the first and nearly take the second game, Glendale Adventist was able to mount little fight in the third.
"I think our defense did well, but they can only do so much if there's nothing up in the front," said Tulgar, who got four kills from Melissa Salazar and two aces apiece form Kylie Foldvary and Danlag Lauren. "We're still working on our offense, [it isn't] where it could be, but our defense has been pretty good, so I'm proud of the defense."