LA CAÑADA — Flintridge Prep boys' volleyball Coach Sean Beattie expects success from his team this year.
Considering the squad is a talented, senior-heavy bunch, why not?
"We had been playing our best volleyball prior to spring break," Beattie said following the Rebels home match against Pasadena Poly on Tuesday. "Then we had that two week break. I think we slowed a little bit today. I don't think we played as well today as we did before spring break."
That's a frightening proposition considering how good Prep looked in dismissing Poly in straight sets 25-14, 25-19, 25-15.
Prep senior captain and starting setter Mike Lii admitted that the Rebels struggled to focus early.
"In the beginning of the game, we came out really slow," said Lii, who logged 24 assists. "We just need to work on getting back into game mode."
The Rebels appeared to be in game mode early on against Poly. Up 15-12, Prep closed the first set on a 10-2 run.
Beattie said that the key to success was keeping things simple and passing well.
"We didn't try to do too much," Beattie said. "We didn't try to run any combination plays. We just wanted to make sure we could pass well. As long as we're passing well, offensively we're going to be able to take care of most teams we play."
While the second set was closer, the Rebels walked away with a 25-19 win.
Beattie was also impressed with how his team served.
"We still have a lot to work on, but we have a specific group of guys that when they get back to serve you know they're going to put balls in play," Beattie said.
The Panthers showed life in the third, keeping it close at 18-15 before losing 25-15.
Poly Coach Jack Prater said the Panthers' inexperience and lack of depth — they dressed only eight players — was no excuse.
"We didn't play our best game today," Prater said. "I was really surprised by the amount of mistakes that we made. Defensively, we never really seemed to get into it, and offensively, just the unforced errors. I know they're going to hold themselves to a higher standard."
Prater added that he hoped the loss would light a fire under the Panthers, who dropped to 2-7 overall and 1-3 in league.
"If you're going to compete in this league, you have to be consistent," Prater said. "They've had some of that this season. Tonight, they didn't have it."
Tyler Weakland and Kareem Ismail each had seven kills for Prep. Weakland also had three blocks and teammate Dante Fregoso added 13 digs.
Poly's Adam Stanford-Moore had six kills, Dennis Grover had 16 assists and Brian Ward had five digs.
Prep improved to 12-6 overall and 3-0 in league.
"It's good to start off hot," Lii said. "You just can't slack off. We've got to keep building forward."