LOS ANGELES — A long season filled with excitement and wild success for the Flintridge Prep boys’ volleyball team contained none of those elements Saturday evening.
The visiting Rebels were simply overmatched versus powerful and clinical Los Angeles Cathedral, as the reigning CIF Southern Section Division IV champions defeated Flintridge Prep, 25-10, 25-14, 25-14 in the divisional quarterfinals.
With the win, the top-seeded Phantoms (26-9) move onto next Wednesday’s divisional semifinals. Flintridge Prep (19-8), on the other hand, capped a wonderful season that included a league championship and a quarterfinal run a season after failing to make the playoffs a year ago.
“There’s only disappointment when you lose to a team that your supposed to beat. This Cathedral team is excellent and they played very well,” Flintridge Prep Coach Sean Beattie said. “I told the guys afterward that if they define their season by this game, then that’s a mistake.
“To rebound like we did, to come from missing the playoffs to winning an undefeated league championship is special. That’s what these guys should remember, maybe not tonight, maybe not tomorrow, but in a few days.”
The Phantoms, champions of the Del Rey League, used a series of devastating runs midway through each of the games to put away Flintridge Prep.
Maybe none was more impressive than in the first game, as Flintridge Prep jumped to a brief 3-1 advantage thanks to a kill each from Chadd Cosse (five kills and one block) and Dante Fregoso.
Both teams wrestled back and forth with Cathedral eventually going up two and then seeing its lead shrink to 6-5.
From there, though, the Phantoms scored the next three points, with two kills from Steven Sosa, and then blew the game wide-open with an impressive 19-5 run that included three kills from Alejandro Albarran (11 kills, three blocks and two aces) and two kills and a block from Allen Sarinana.
“I can’t say we planned any different today than any other day,” Phantoms Coach Michael Godoy said. “We respect Flintridge Prep, but we focused on playing our game and getting to the next round.”
In the second game, the Rebels and Phantoms were tied at 8, thanks in part to two kills from senior Tyler Weakland, when Cathedral again went on a lengthy and devastating run.
This time, Cathedral closed out the victory with a 17-6 run fueled by four kills from Sarinana.
While the Phantoms were deadly, the Rebels also didn’t help their cause in the second game, failing on four flat-footed serves. Cathedral, in comparison, converted four aces and committed two service errors, with both gaffes coming on jump serves.
In the third game, a Rebels’ 6-4 deficit quickly turned into a 24-10 hole behind an 18-6 run powered by Albarran, who added six kills, one block and an ace during the spurt.
The Rebels rallied for four points, but Cathedral finished off the contest with a kill from Albert Ahedo, the 11th Phantom to at least contribute one point.
“I think what made them so tough is how quick they set,” said Rebels middle blocker Kareem Ismail, one of 11 seniors listed on the roster. “We’d try to go up and block and they’d already score. We just had trouble defending.
“It’s tough to lose, but this was a great season and it had to end sometime.”