Things didn't start off too promising in the beginning of the season for the members of the Flintridge Prep boys' volleyball team.
The Rebels were without several starters because of commitments to the school's basketball team that advanced to the state tournament. Once they returned to the court for volleyball, it took them about a week to get adjusted.
Since then, the Rebels have captured the Prep League championship before winning a pair of playoff matches.
Flintridge Prep's biggest test is likely to come at 7 p.m. Saturday, when it makes the 15-mile trip to Los Angeles to face top-seeded Cathedral in a CIF Southern Section Division IV quarterfinal match.
The Rebels (19-7) are hoping to be up to the challenge after posting playoff victories against Whitney and Salesian and aren't concerned with the Phantoms (25-9) being the No. 1 seed.
"It can be a good thing going up against the No. 1 seed," said Flintridge Prep Coach Sean Beattie, whose team didn't qualify for the Division V playoffs last season. "The pressure is off you because you are not supposed to win.
"We know we have to just go in there relaxed and put forth our best effort. We played a great match against Salesian. If we can play like that [against Cathedral], then I think we have a shot."
Flintridge Prep advanced to the quarterfinals with a 25-17, 25-14, 25-18 second-round home win against Salesian on Thursday. The Rebels received a match-high 12 kills from outside hitter/middle blocker Dante Fregoso and 27 assists from setter Michael Lii.
Salesian got 12 and 10 kills, respectively, from outside hitter Allen Sarinana and middle blocker Alejandro Albarran to earn a 25-19, 25-11, 25-10 second-round road win against Katella. Salesian captured the Del Rey League title.
Beattie said the Rebels have soaked up the experience of playoff competition.
"When we played Whitney, that was the first playoff match for most of them," Beattie said. "They are learning what it's like to play and we are starting to grow little by little.
"We know Salesian has a good opposite hitter and outside hitter. We know our passing will need to be solid."
Lii said the Rebels are confident.
"It doesn't matter who we play because you still have to go out there and play your best," Lii said. "We feel like it will come down to passing.
"If we can do well with our passing, then that will help us be able to do a lot of other things well."
The winner will meet fourth-seeded Santa Fe or Yucaipa in a semifinal match Wednesday. In other quarterfinal matches, second-seeded Bishop Montgomery will meet Vistamar and third-seeded La Salle will take on St. Margaret's.
The championship match will take place at 11:30 a.m. May 18 at Santiago Canyon College in Orange.