LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — For more than a decade, the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy and Harvard-Westlake girls' volleyball teams have stood out in the Mission League.
In that time frame, the squads have normally competed for league championships and met once with a CIF Southern Section crown on the line.
Unfortunately for Flintridge Sacred Heart, things didn't go as planned as Harvard-Westlake came through with a 25-17, 27-25, 25-15 road victory in the first of two head-to-head matchups Thursday night.
Plenty of errors proved to be the sticking point for the Tologs, who dropped to 9-7 and 2-2 in league. Flintridge Sacred Heart finished with 37 errors, including 20 hitting miscues, that Harvard-Westlake (15-1,4-0) had little difficulty capitalizing on during key points in the contest.
"We did a lot of good things, but it comes down to eliminating mistakes," Flintridge Sacred Heart first-year Coach Anne Arlie said. "Although it's a loss, the rest of the season will be about seeing what they are capable of doing and beating teams in our league like Alemany and Chaminade."
Harvard-Westlake, ranked No. 1 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division I-AA poll, and Flintridge Sacred Heart played a thrilling and pivotal second game, in which the Tologs overcame a pair of game-point situations. Alyssa Walton had two big kills to keep the Tologs in the game, but Harvard-Westlake's strong presence at the net proved to be too much for the Tologs to overcome.
Harvard-Westlake iced the game with two straight kills from middle blocker Amanda Hall to put the Tologs in an even deeper hole.
"They had some real good swings on us [in the second game]," Harvard-Westlake Coach Adam Black said. "They had a good game and we were kind of fortunate that it went our way.
"Flintridge Sacred Heart was ready to go tonight and the rivalry goes back before I was the head coach. They have a great coach and roster."
Arlie said the Tologs couldn't recover.
"They needed that win to really keep us going because it's then anybody's game," Arlie said "We fought hard in the third game."
The Tologs never led in the third game, which saw the Wolverines race to a 14-4 lead on a kill by Mileva Popovic. Flintridge Sacred Heart could get no closer than 20-14 on a kill by Walton, who finished with a team-best 12.
Flintridge Sacred Heart received 38 assists from setter Alessandra Orlandini and 11 kills from outside hitter Camille Coffey. Setter Kellie Barnum collected 36 assists for Harvard-Westlake, which will play host to Flintridge Sacred Heart on Nov. 2.