Tologs can't stop Spartans latest sweep

LA CAÑADA — The friendly crosstown rivalry between the La Cañada High and Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy girls' volleyball teams got friendlier Saturday when the two squads' annual clash helped raise money for breast cancer treatment and research.

The end result, a 25-16-25-20, 25-15 La Cañada win, extended the Spartans' streak of winning via sweep in the rivalry to three years after beating the Tologs in 2009 (25-17, 25-15, 25-16) and 2010 (25-16, 25-20, 25-22).

Sacred Heart Coach Anne Arlie said it was hard to stop the Spartans' offense, as they had four players with eight kills or more.

"It's difficult when they are hitting over your block," Arlie said. "We adjusted pretty well, but it's hard to stop when they have six or so players that can put the ball away."

La Cañada Brock Turner knows how much the rivalry match meant to his team, especially his seniors.

"It's the girls on the hill versus the girls down here," Turner said. "For some, this was their last time playing Sacred Heart and I reminded them of that."

The match also served as the Spartans' third annual "Dig for the Cure" match (sponsored by the Arcadia Radiology Medical group). The event raises money for Los Angeles County affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation. Both teams collected donations before the match, collecting per-dig pledges or flat donations.

"It's an honor to have this rivalry game played in a way that means so much more," Arlie said. "It's a reminder there are bigger things out there than just winning and what's out here on the court."

The Spartans (14-7) came out strong in the match. With the first game tied at 4-4, they went on a 15-6 run to take a commanding 19-10 lead. Both Claire Hilsen and Kendall Walbrecht had three kills in that span. The Tologs mounted a slight comeback, but couldn't make the first game interesting in a 25-16 loss.

Down, 7-3, in the second game, Sacred Heart went on a short 3-0 run, as Madzie McVaugh notched a kill and Shelby Tom racked up two assists. The run was snapped by a kill from La Cañada's Micaela Anderson, who finished with a match high 16 kills. The Tologs mounted another short rally, down 18-14, scoring four straight points on two Spartan errors and a kill from Alessandra Orlandini, who tied Claire Mudie for a team-high five kills in the match, to tie the game at 18. Anderson broke that run with another kill, as the Spartans went on a 6-2 run to take the second game, 25-20.

La Cañada never trailed in the third game, as it was up, 16-12, and went on a 9-3 run to capture the third game and the sweep.

The Spartans had a 24-game winning streak coming into Saturday, not dropping a single game in their previous seven matches.

"We are on a pretty nice roll now," Turner said.

There's clearly been a power shift in the rivalry, as the Spartans' 2009 win snapped a five-year Sacred Heart (4-8) winning streak.

Turner knows you never know what's going to happen in the Tolog-Spartan rivalry, though.

"Tonight, we had it going, but you never know, next year it could be a different story," Turner said.

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