LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE — It's expected the first couple of weeks of the season will be a time for the members of the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy volleyball team to make adjustments.
After missing the playoffs last season, the Tologs decided to restructure the program. In stepped first-year coach Ernest Banaag, who led Mayfield to three straight CIF championships between 2008-10.
For Banaag, the beginning of the season will be a time for tinkering with lineups and learning the strengths and weaknesses of the Tologs.
Banaag found some positives and negatives after visiting Notre Dame Academy recorded an 18-25, 25-23, 25-22, 26-24 nonleague victory against Flintridge Sacred Heart on Thursday night.
“We came out real strong in the first game, and I thought that was a good sign,” said Banaag, whose team dropped to 3-3. “We were pretty much in every game, but we had a lot of passing errors.
“Notre Dame has got a great defensive team, but we have to get a bit better in the emotional and mental parts of the game. I'm feeling more and more confident that we will pick it up. We will get better.”
The Tologs turned to many of their key returners to stay close with Notre Dame(6-2). Flintridge Sacred Heart received 45 assists from Sophia Coffey and 14 kills from Katie Conley.
Coffey said the Tologs had a couple of lapses in the third and fourth games that turned the match in Notre Dame's favor.
“We seemed to let them play at their pace, and we gave up some points,” said Coffey, who added five kills. “We will have to work on keeping our pace more and work more on our passing.
“I think Ernest works well with us. I know we will do much better.”
After competing earlier Thursday in a Mission League cross-country meet in the San Fernando Valley, Colleen Degnan and Maddie Peterson returned and finished with 15 digs and 11 kills, respectively. The Tologs also got 15 digs from Emily Develle.
Flintridge Sacred Heart raced to a 13-3 lead in the first game on a kill by Conley. The Tologs then held a 19-11 lead before Notre Dame closed to within 19-16 on a kill by Alexis Jackson. However, Flintridge Sacred Heart finished up on a 6-2 run that included a kill apiece from Ally Clapp and Peterson.
A kill by Conley gave the Tologs a 15-12 lead in the second game. Jackson recorded a kill to give Notre Dame an 18-17 advantage. After the Tologs tied it at 23, Notre Dame got a kill from Meaghan Truman and a block by Lindsey Smith to even the match at one game apiece.
Notre Dame held a 24-19 lead in the pivotal third game before Flintridge Sacred Heart cut the deficit to 24-22. Following a Notre Dame timeout, Notre Dame's Catherine Feathers recorded a kill to close out the game.
In the fourth game, an ace by Conley gave the Tologs a 21-18 lead. Notre Dame then went on a 4-0 run to take a 22-21 advantage, capped by an ace by Jackson. The Tologs fought off match point to tie it at 24, but Notre Dame got a kill from Jennifer Jones to make it 25-24 before finishing off the Tologs after they committed a hitting error.