PASADENA — Part competitive, part good fun, Sunday afternoon’s second annual San Gabriel Valley All-Star Boys’ Volleyball Underclassmen game had a little bit of everything to offer.
In the end, a highly competitive match went to the area public school stars, who avenged a loss last year with a 25-14, 18-25, 15-10 victory at La Salle High.
PHOTOS: San Gabriel Valley All-Star boys' underclassmen game
South Pasadena High sophomore outside hitter Richard Yu was named the public school Player of the Game, while Damien Erik Leggio was named the private Player of the Game.
“I didn’t play my best, but I just wanted to play hard and win,” said Yu, who finished with 10 kills and one ace. “I’m happy we won.”
Yu saved his best effort for last, as the 6-foot-4 hitter tallied four kills in the third and deciding game, as South Pasadena’s 1-0 lead eventually morphed into a 5-2 advantage behind two kills from Yu.
The private-school team did close within a point after a public service error was followed by big block from Leggio (six kills and three blocks).
However, the public school’s narrowing 5-4 advantage was bolstered by a private attacking error, another kill from Yu and only the second kill of the match from Gabrielino’s Calvin Chen to put the visitors up 8-4.
The private squad did respond to the four-point deficit and eventually closed most of the gap when a block from Leggio of La Cañada’s Connor Walbrecht (four kills) brought the home side to within 11-10.
Yet, there was no tie, as South Pasadena’s Greg Luck delivered back-to-back kills that preceded a final kill from Yu, which brought the public side to match point, 14-11.
Perhaps the only thing missing for the public side in the third-game victory was a thrilling conclusion as a private-school attacking error gave the public side the final point in the third-game win.
“We had a total of one hour of practice to work with the guys on the team and the good thing is that some of these guys knew each other,” public school coach Joel Brinton of Burroughs said. “I just wanted to make it look like we had put more time than we did.”
The match’s moment of fun or frustration, depending on involved parties, came midway through the first game with the public school leading, 14-8.
After a service error from the public side, private school coach Mark Frazee of St. Francis attempted to substitute in two players when the officials instructed the veteran to head to the scorer’s table to verify the rotation.
After two official timeouts and about a 10-minute delay, Frazee inserted the correct players.
“I was under the impression that all we needed was numbers in the lineup, which is what I turned in,” Frazee said. “Then I was asked for the name of the players and all I had was numbers and an initial. It took a while to clear it up, but everything was OK after.”
The public school eventually claimed the first game, 25-14, on a private attacking error.
In the second game, the private side responded from a 4-3 deficit with three straight points, two coming on a kill each from La Salle’s Jonathan Raymundo and South Pasadena’s Max Luck, to go up 7-5.
The private lead remained around two points until 15-13 when the private team scored three of the next four points, to go up, 18-14, and not look back.
La Cañada’s Connor Beltcher and Mel Schroeder, Burroughs’ Danny Casillas, Jonathan Fuentes and Nick Van Loo, Crescenta Valley’s Mike Kim and Raymond Barsemian and Hoover’s Brandon Knight also helped lead the public side to a win.
St. Francis’ Markar Agakanian, a late entry, contributed three kills for a private team that also included fellow Golden Knight David Thompson, Flintridge Prep’s Dante Fregoso and Pasadena Poly’s Dennis Grover.