Rebels mount comeback over Spartans

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — It would have been easy for the Flintridge Prep boys' volleyball team to fold after it saw La Cañada High score four straight points to force a fifth and deciding game Friday.

It got worse for the Rebels when the Spartans put them in a three-point hole in the final game.

Prep rose to the occasion and closed out the game by scoring 15 of the next 18 points for a five-game victory, 25-16, 16-25, 25-19, 20-25, 15-6.

"We have heart and we have fight," Flintridge Prep Coach Sean Beattie. "They understand they're down and they just don't give up and I am so proud these guys are like that. That's something ingrained — you can't coach that — you have it or you don't."

The win snapped the Rebels' four-match losing streak and improved their record to 3-4.

"For us, this match was huge because we've lost four in a row," Beattie said. "We just needed to get that victory."

It also marked the second day in a row the Spartans (1-3) dropped a five-gamer after they fell to Chatsworth at home Thursday, 18-25, 20-25, 25-20, 26-13, 15-11.

"When it goes to five games sometimes you win them, sometimes you lose them and we've just been on the other side the past two days," La Cañada Coach David Woo said.

Kareem Ismail got Prep rolling in the fifth game, snapping La Cañada's opening 3-0 run with a kill after Beattie called a timeout to calm his team. The Rebels rallied around their middle blocker and went on a 10-0 run, highlighted by three kills and a block from Ismail and two kills from Kory Hamane, who finished with a team-high 11 kills.

"We just got pumped right before the [fifth] game and after the timeout, when we were down 3-0, we came out more hyped," said Ismail, who had four of his 10 kills and three of his match-high seven blocks in the final game.

A Flintridge Prep error brought the score to 10-5, but Hamane closed out the game with two kills down the stretch, including the game- and match-winner.

It was a swing of momentum after La Cañada used a 6-1 run — sparked by two kills from Jonathan Sullivan and Orion Burl, who notched the game-winner and 10 kills in the match — to capture the fourth game, 25-20, and took a 3-0 lead in the fifth on two Prep errors and another Burl kill.

The entire match was back and forth as the Rebels dominated the first game, 25-16, thanks to four kills from Chadd Cosse, who finished with nine kills and nine La Cañada errors.

The Spartans wound up winning the second game, 25-16, after taking a 13-7 lead on five straight points from Sullivan, who finished with a match-high 13 kills, four blocks and two aces, and 13 Prep errors in the game.

"I think we came out strong and then we lowered our level and let them come back," Beattie said.

Tyler Weakland was a difference-maker for Prep in the third game as he notched five of the Rebels' final six points in the game. He had five of his six kills and thee aces in the game.

La Cañada got six blocks from Mitchell Page and 18 digs from Stephen Gannon. Harrison Jung posted a team-high 18 digs for the Rebels.

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