THOUSAND OAKS — Throughout the first two rounds of the CIF Southern Section Division I-A playoffs, the members of the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy volleyball team have appeared to make things look easy.
Flintridge Sacred Heart second-year Coach Ernest Banaag said it hasn't been quite so simple.
“You have to go out there and earn everything you can possibly get,” said Banaag, whose team registered a 25-15, 25-16, 25-23 second-round road victory against Thousand Oaks on Thursday night. “It's about being able to stay composed, consistent and confident.”
“We played very well in the first two games and then we got a little sloppy in the third game, but we are still learning and finding our way through the playoffs.”
Fourth-seeded Flintridge Sacred Heart (25-4) will meet El Dorado in a quarterfinal home match at 7 p.m. Saturday. Thousand Oaks finished 16-9 after taking second in the Marmonte League.
Flintridge Sacred Heart, which shared the Mission League championship with rival Harvard-Westlake before recording a sweep against visiting Ayala in a first-round match Tuesday, received 40 assists from Sophia Coffey and 17 kills from Kayla Lund to turn back the Lancers. The Tologs also got 29 digs from Emily Develle, 12 kills from Katie Conley and five blocks from Megan Bacall.
The Tologs used a pair of elongated surges to take Thousand Oaks out of its rhythm in the first two games.
“Those kind of runs can be huge,” said Lund, who had 21 kills against Ayala. “They give you the momentum and take the crowd out of it.
“We were fired up and were able to feed off of each other's energy.”
Flintridge Sacred Heart never trailed in the first game and used a 7-2 run to grab a 14-7 advantage. Lund had three kills in that stretch. A block by Bacall closed out the first game.
In the second game, Thousand Oaks held a 7-6 lead before Flintridge Sacred Heart went on a 7-0 run to take a 13-7 lead. Lund also had three kills in that surge.
A kill by Coffey gave the Tologs a 22-11 lead. Coffey ended the second game with another kill.
“We did so many good things in those first two games,” Banaag said. “We had something to build on right there.”
Thousand Oaks provided a better test for Flintridge Sacred Heart in the third game. Thousand Oaks knotted it at 10 before Flintridge Sacred Heart went on a 5-1 run to make it 15-11. After the Tologs led, 23-18, the Lancers made a late comeback bid to close to within 24-23. Conley then concluded the match with a kill down the right side.
“We were able to play our game throughout,” said Lund, a freshman. “We just have to be able to keep it up and keep things simple along the way.”