PASADENA — While Sunday afternoon’s second annual San Gabriel Valley All-Star Boys’ Volleyball Game at La Salle High had its pleasantries and moments of fraternity, there was a certain edge this time around that perhaps lacked a year earlier.
The area public high school teams, which were swept in the inaugural event last June at Caltech University, took revenge in winning both of this year’s underclassmen and senior contests, with the highlight being a come-from-behind 21-25, 22-25, 25-22, 25-23, 15-12 senior triumph.
“For our team, it felt like we owed [the private schools] from last year. We all know each other and wanted to get this win,” said Burroughs outside hitter Daniel Jacobs, who was named his squad’s player of the game. “We went down two games, but I don’t think we thought it was over.”
St. Francis’ Charles McCarthy was the player of the game for the private squad, which also featured players from area schools Flintridge Prep, La Salle and Providence. The public school team had area athletes from Burroughs, La Cañada and South Pasadena.
Jacobs was part of the public school underclassmen team that fell last season, 24-26, 25-21, 15-8 to the private squad.
On Sunday, Jacobs paced his team with 22 kills, three aces and two blocks.
Jacobs tallied the first kill of the fifth game and continued to push the public squad away from the private squad, including with a kill that put the visitors ahead, 8-6, and then later with two kills within a three-possession sequence that gave the public side an 11-8 advantage.
The private team tried to rally, bouncing back on single kills from St. Francis’ Chris Thompson (five kills and three aces) and La Cañada home-schooler Max States to close within 11-10.
The deficit was still at one when a kill from South Pasadena’s Robert Adamson propelled the public side to match-point at 14-12.
On the very next possession, Adamson completed his team’s comeback with a kill through a combo-block attempt.
“We were down two and we just knew we had to come back,” said Adamson, who finished with 11 kills and three blocks.
The public school rally wasn’t without fierce resistance, particularly from St. Francis’ Charles McCarthy, who led all scorers with 28 kills, two blocks and one ace and was named his squad’s player of the game.
“We all know each other and we all wanted to win,” McCarthy said. “It’s competition. We all want to see who’s the best and go out there and prove it.”
McCarthy finished with five kills, one block and one ace in the first game alone, which saw the private side go up by as many as seven points before a kill from Damien’s Kevin Alfaro sealed a 25-21 victory.
Different private school players stepped up in the second-game victory, as Providence’s Phil Harvey contributed four of his total six kills in the set, which tied him with McCarthy and the Pepperdine-bound States (11 kills, two aces and one block) for the game-high lead.
In the third game, Jacobs made his presence felt in tallying six kills and two aces, including the game-winning spike.
A tie at 22 in the fourth game was broken in favor of the public squad on a private school service error followed by a rare illegal back-row attack violation that gave the public side a 24-22 advantage.
Even though McCarthy delivered a timely kill to bring his team within one, Gabrielino’s Andy Yo (nine kills and two aces) closed out the public win with a spike.
Burroughs’ BJ Lagmay and Shane Beamer were also a part of the victorious public school team, as were La Cañada’s Jonathan Sullivan, Orion Burl and Mitchell Page and South Pasadena’s David Barker, Jason Qui, Nathan Lee and Quinn Hutchings.
Flintridge Prep’s Kareem Ismail, who was selected to play for the private squad, was out due to an injury.
“This was a great experience and I wasn’t sure if we’d comeback,” said Burl, who contributed two vital kills in the third-game victory. “We didn’t have too much time to practice, but we still pulled together for the win.”