Spartans get ready for CIF

Each year La Cañada Coach Brock Turner prepares his girls' volleyball team for the level of playoff competition they'll see by enrolling them in the two-day Redondo Union Power Classic tournament.

In a tournament that featured 32 teams, La Cañada finished tied for fifth place with Centennial of Bakersfield, ending with a 5-1 record during play Friday and Saturday.

The tourney helped pave the way for the Spartans (9-0 in league) winning the Rio Rondo League title. La Cañada claimed the crown Tuesday, defeating San Marino, 25-14, 25-15, 25-14.

"We've done this tournament a few years now just to get work in," Turner said. "We need to, because if we go into the playoffs with a Rio Hondo mentality, it can hurt us."

Turner admits his team had been "sleep-walking" during some of its matches against weaker-league opponents.

"Nothing against the team, that's just the way it is," Turner said.

Micaela Anderson, a sophomore outside hitter, returned to the team after sitting out the past two weeks. Anderson picked right back up where she left off, notching a second-best 16 kills for the Spartans in the two-day tournament. Kendall Walbrecht's 21 kills were a team high, while Katie Pierce had a third-best 14.

It was Eirene Kim who took home all-tournament honors though, recording 26 digs in six games.

The Spartans (25-3) cruised through the tournament's first two-rounds against North Torrance, 25-12, 25-19, and Independence of Bakersfield, 25-17, 25-10. La Cañada was tested at the end of pool play Friday by St. Lucy's, just squeaking by the Regents, 23-25, 26-24, 15-11, in the third round.

Entering Saturday's competition, La Cañada found its second wind against Notre Dame Academy, blowing by the Regals, 25-23, 25-17.

"Although I didn't make it out to be a revenge factor, the team may have thought of it that way," said Turner, who saw his team lose to the Regals, 23-25, 18-25, in the semifinals of the Royal Classic on Oct. 2.

The Spartans faced the tournament host, Redondo Union, in the quarterfinals. Turner said the Sea Hawks just overwhelmed the Spartans, 25-16, 25-11, snapping the locals' 13-game winning streak, which dated back to Oct. 2.

Looking to start another streak, La Cañada outlasted El Dorado, 25-20, 22-25, 15-13, in the final match of the tournament.

"We've lost once in three different tournaments all year against higher-ranked teams, but overall we're doing really well," Turner said.

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