Flintridge Sacred Heart volleyball gives No. 1 La Salle all it can handle

PASADENA — Not only was the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy girls’ volleyball team playing arguably the best program within the San Gabriel Valley, but the Tologs also faced a La Salle squad that was top-ranked in the same division.

Perhaps that’s why there wasn’t much disappointment after Flintridge Sacred Heart put up a valiant fight, but lost to the host Lancers 25-15, 24-26, 25-21, 25-19 in nonleague play Tuesday afternoon at Duffy Lewis Gymnasium.

PHOTOS: FSHA vs. La Salle non-league girls' volleyball

“I guess we know why they’re ranked No. 1,” said Tologs Coach Ernest Banaag, in reference to the CIF Southern Section Division I-A top-ranked Lancers (11-2). “But, I like the energy of [my] girls. We just gave them too many runs, especially in the crucial parts.

“When you’re giving [Michigan-bound outside hitter] Caroline Knop and Haley De Sales runs and they have the home-court advantage, it makes it tough.”

Despite falling behind 9-3 in the deciding fourth game, the Division I-A eighth-ranked Tologs (8-2) rallied and pulled within 17-15 on a kill from sophomore opposite Ali McCollum, much to the delight of a boisterous road section.

The cheers evaporated, though, as Knop (17 kills) took over and converted five straight points, including an amazing one-fingered block, to propel the Lancers to a 22-15 advantage.

Flintridge Sacred Heart tried to bounce back and scored the next two points on kills from Kayla Lund and Ally Clapp.

However, the Tologs never trimmed more than five points off their deficit and saw a solid effort end on a match-clinching kill from La Salle’s Jennifer Haderlein.

“We received a good challenge tonight and what more can you ask for,” Lancers Coach Tiare Tuitama said. “We knew Flintridge Sacred Heart had a great weapon [in Lund] and we set up our block against her.”

The Tologs’ best effort came in the second game, in which Flintridge Sacred Heart took its biggest lead of the match, 17-12, after a blistering kill from junior Megan Bacall (10 kills).

La Salle rebounded behind De Sales, who delivered five of her match-high 22 kills in the second game as the Lancers knotted the score at 20.

Even though Flintridge Sacred Heart temporarily fell behind, 21-20, the Tologs stormed ahead and hit game-point, 25-24, on a kill from Becall set up on a beautiful bump from Sophia Coffey (42 assists).

On the next play, De Sales was called for a centerline violation that awarded the Tologs their win.

“This was so fun, this was a great time and a great experience,” said Lund, who led the Tologs with 13 kills.

Flintridge Sacred Heart’s play in the second game differed greatly from the first, as La Salle looked unstoppable behind nine kills from De Sales in an easy 25-15 win.

Perhaps the energy exhausted in the second-game victory was too much, as the Tologs fell behind, 15-10, in the third game and never pulled any closer than three points.

Tologs libero Emily Develle led her squad with 26 digs.

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