LA CAÑADA — The Flintridge Prep girls’ volleyball team just can't seem to catch a break this young season.
Of the team's three returning players, two are out with injuries. Outside hitter Lauren Stiles is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and setter Jenny Shintaku dislocated her shoulder last week.
The lack of experience showed, as the Rebels fell to rival Pasadena Poly in straight sets, 25-12, 25-11, 25-12, at home on Saturday to open Prep League play.
“It hurts a little bit,” Flintridge Prep Coach Sean Beattie said. “You have to step up as a team. We didn't do as well as we could have.”
Adding to the Rebels' woes, setter Tali Yessaie rolled an ankle early in the second set and did not return.
“I was happy with the way they responded,” Beattie said. “They didn't freak out. They got to the right spots and did what they're supposed to do. That said, I think we could have done better. We allowed little things to lose our focus. That really hurts us, especially against a really good team.”
Flintridge Prep (1-4 overall, 0-1 in Prep League) did have some highlights against the Panthers. Down, 13-5, in the second set, Beattie called timeout and his team responded with four straight points to pull to within 13-9 before the Panthers pulled away.
In the third set, Poly (6-1, 3-0) went up, 8-2. The Rebels responded by pulling to within 11-8, but couldn't sustain the momentum.
Dani Motte, a junior and team captain, is the only healthy returning player for Flintridge. She had three kills and four digs. She said it will take time and practice for her squad to come together.
“Once we get a feel for the team, this is a very new team, once we evolve as a team, I think after that we'll improve,” Motte said.
Carter Woodruff led Poly with seven kills and Natalie Treister had 15 assists.
“I thought we played at a fast tempo,” Poly Coach Steve Beerman said. “We're trying to establish the way we want to play. It's just one of those days. I hope they get healthy. I want to play them when they're at their best.”
Despite the lopsided loss, Beattie liked the hustle he saw from his team.
“We fought still,” Beattie said. “We dove. We got balls. We got touches. We were flying on the floor trying to get balls up. That's something you can't teach. It's in them. They're going to work as hard as they can from start to finish. What we saw today was a lot of energy and I liked it.”