Falcons shut down in desert

GLENDALE — Far from home and a bit out of their element, the members of the Crescenta Valley High girls' volleyball team used the first game of their CIF Southern Section Division 2-A playoff opener on Tuesday night to feel out their opponent and try to settle into the match.

Unfortunately for the Falcons, host Palm Springs came out fired up and in full-attack mode and a 14-point Indians win in the opening stanza set the tone for a 25-11, 25-19, 25-12 sweep.

"I think the first game we were just trying to feel them out, but they were a really good team," first-year Falcons Coach Steven Umemoto said. "They weren't one-dimensional, they had a lot of hitters and we tried to make adjustments, but they were just one step ahead of us.

"I don't think we've faced that kind of team this year. I think we were a little shocked by how fast their offense was."

Payton Wheeler led Crescenta Valley (14-14) with 14 assists and Kira Guarino had seven kills on a night that didn't include many highlights for the Falcons, although they did pull together to give Pam Springs (24-2-1) more of a fight in the middle game.

"We fought a little harder at the end of the game and we never gave up," said Umemoto, who also got 11 digs from Leah Gagliardi. "Our serving and our passing picked up a little bit."

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