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.