PASADENA — Inspired perhaps by playing the role of underdogs or simply competing against a nonleague rival, the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy volleyball team came out with a strong first-game effort Monday night that instilled doses of fear and anger into host La Salle.
And although they remained competitive throughout, the Tologs were not able to withstand the Lancers in a 24-26, 25-20, 25-16, 25-16 nonleague loss.
"We got too overly excited and we allowed them to creep back in," Flintridge Coach Anne Arlie said.
After securing the first game and starting the second on a 5-0 run, the Tologs (3-4) allowed La Salle (5-2) to tie it at 10. There were seven more ties that followed before Flintridge knotted it at 18. But after that, the Lancers went on a 7-2 run to close out the second game.
It was the first of three strong runs for La Salle, which used runs of 9-1 and 11-2 to close out the third and fourth games, respectively.
"I think the girls got angry and they used that to come back to win the next three," said Lancers Coach Tiare Tuitama, whose team is ranked seventh in the CIF Southern Section Division 2-AA poll. "The main thing I told my girls was to keep their serves in. Both sides were serving well, but whoever keeps the serve is usually who gets the points."
It was the third loss in a row for Flintridge, which was led by Drew Washington's 12 kills, Alessandra Orlandini's 26 assists and Colleen Degnan's 22 digs.
"They came out stronger than we expected," Lancers senior middle blocker Diamond Ridley-Pierce said. "I was a little scared after that loss. But once we got into the game and our serves started getting better, we were a little more relaxed."
Ridley-Pierce, the 6-foot-2 University of Northern Colorado-bound player, was carried by a mob of Lancers fans who rushed the court following the win. It was Ridley-Pierce who led the Lancers with 11 kills and 12 solo blocks. Riley Spriesterbach recorded 11 kills and 11 blocks. And Katherine Haderlein had 34 assist and four aces.
"It's a big rivalry and I know they wanted to win it more than any other game," Tuitama said.
The Lancers, who won the rivalry match in five games last season, have won four out of their last five nonleague games this season.