La Cañada boys' volleyball sweeps aside nearby rival Flintridge Prep

LA CANADA — With an imposing front line featuring Orion Burl and Mel Schroeder, the La Cañada High boys’ volleyball team might have some huge advantages.

With the 6-foot-3 Burl and 6-5 Schroeder near the net, the Spartans will look to the towering duo to supply their share of kills and blocks.

“We are used to where we need to be in terms of hitting and blocking,” said Burl, an outside hitter who finished with a team-high 14 kills Friday to power visiting La Cañada to a 25-19, 25-18, 25-19 nonleague victory against neighbor Flintridge Prep. “You also have that court vision.

“We feed off each other. We got off to a hot start and we tried to carry the momentum the entire way. We wanted to be in control the whole time.”

La Cañada, which opened its season Thursday with a nonleague home victory against Canyon Country Canyon, improved to 2-0. Flintridge Prep, which was without five players because of commitments to the school’s boys’ basketball team, dropped to 0-1.

La Cañada, under the direction of first-year coach Otto Lacayo, controlled the tempo throughout most of the match with Burl and Montgomery leading the charge.

Schroeder contributed nine kills for the Spartans, who received 36 assists from Connor Walbrecht.

“The blocking [from Schroeder and Burl] needs a little more work, but that will get better with a couple of more practices,” Lacayo said. “Their outside attack is coming along nicely.

“It’s huge to have those two up front and you can go in different directions. It was big to get off to a quick start. We are still learning how to win. I gave our guys the task of trying to close it out in three games and they responded well.”

The Spartans took a 21-17 lead in the first game on a kill by Burl. La Cañada closed out on a 4-2 run.

La Cañada never trailed in the second game. It took the lead for good at 10-9 on a serving error. Schroeder notched a kills to extend the lead to 15-11.

The Spartans snapped an 11-1 deadlock in the third game with a 10-4 run to grab a 21-15 advantage. Schroeder recorded three kills in that stretch.

The Rebels competed without Chadd Cosse, Tyler Weakland, Kareem Ismail, Jedrick Eugenio and Harrison Jung on Friday. Cosse, Weakland and Ismail are starters on the volleyball team, but the basketball team is awaiting word on whether it will be a part of the state playoffs beginning next week. The basketball team advanced to the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Division V-AA playoffs.

With the quintet absent, veteran Flintridge Prep Coach Sean Beattie turned to several players who normally serve as reserves to help partly fill the void.

Flintridge Prep got a team-best eight kills from Dante Fregoso, four from Kyle Law and 19 assists from Mike Lii.

“We had to go in there and change some things on the fly,” Beattie said. “I’m happy with the way we played for a first match.

“We made a lot of mistakes. You make that many and that’s four or five points per game right there. We don’t know when we will get the guys back from basketball. Once we do, I think we will have a good all-around team.”

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