LA CAÑADA —Flintridge Prep’s boys’ volleyball team extended its Prep League winning streak to 10 matches with a 25-18, 25-20, 25-21 sweep over visiting Rio Hondo Prep on Friday afternoon.
Still, Rebels Coach Sean Beattie said his team has looked better than it did against the Kares.
“It was a sloppy game on both ends,” said Beattie, whose squad hasn’t dropped a game in two Prep League matches this season and improved to 8-4 overall. “We made errors we hadn’t made. I haven’t seen them [Rio Hondo Prep] play, but they made a lot of errors, especially in the service game.”
Rio Hondo Prep’s subpar hitting percentage, coupled with seven service errors aided in Flintridge Prep overcoming less-than-stellar play on its end, and securing its final match before spring break and a second week off before a meeting with Glendale on April 7.
Dante Fregoso led the Rebels with nine kills and 20 digs and led a balanced effort that also saw Kyle Law contributing with eight kills, Trip Westmoreland with five and Aldridge Khin setting them up with 25 assists. Westmoreland and fellow middle blocker Tyler Dill each tallied four blocks.
“We get into our heads too much,” Fregoso said. “When we stop worrying about mistakes and just play volleyball, then we’ll be OK. That’s all that we’re missing.”
Fregoso’s four kills in the first game came in a frame when the Rebels served through the first nine points, as the Kares hurt themselves with misfires that Flintridge Prep benefited from to the tune of an 8-1 advantage. The lead would not dip less than five points the rest of the way, capped off by a Law kill.
Rio Hondo Prep took its first lead of the match in the second game, scoring consecutive points early that also marked the first tie score of the match until that point. The 7-6 lead would be short-lived, however, as the Rebels scored the next four. Rio Hondo Prep tied the score at 10 on three unanswered points, only to see Flintridge Prep prevent an extended run, sparked by Fregoso’s kill.
The Rebels cruised thereafter, leading by as many as six points at 21-15 on an ace from the sophomore outside hitter. Rio Hondo Prep made a late run, cutting the deficit to three at 23-20, but one of its seven errors came at the least opportune time and was capitalized on by the Rebels, who closed it out on the ensuing point.
The Kares were able to take advantage of Flintridge Prep’s errors in the third and played to a tightly contested game with the Rebels that saw six tie scores. Flintridge Prep’s first lead came at the 10-9 mark and similarly to the second game, the defending Prep League Champions did not relinquish it.
The teams were knotted at 14 before the Rebels reeled off nine of the next 10 to take a commanding 23-15 lead that all but sealed the match, despite the Kares responding with five straight, only to succumb to the seemingly inevitable.
“They graduated all but two starters and we graduated all but one, so both teams are figuring things out,” Beattie said. “The boys were able to put that behind them and get that victory in league. We’ll take the positives, look at the negatives and learn from them.”
The Rebels will not have an opportunity to extend the winning streak in league until traveling to Pasadena Poly on April 10. They will play a pair of Pacific League squads in Glendale and Hoover in nonleague action.
“We started the first half strong, which was a great surprise because we were still trying to learn how to play with each other,” Fregoso said. “We hit a rough patch, but now we’re settling into a groove and I think we’ll be fine.”