LA CAÑADA — Just past the midway point of the season and the La Cañada High boys’ volleyball teams remains a work in progress.
That’s not necessarily a bad omen for the Spartans, who field a lineup consisting of mostly sophomores and juniors. Though its inexperience might show at times during a match, it hasn’t left La Cañada in the doldrums.
“We can pass and set well, but we just need to learn how to finish in certain situations,” said La Cañada Coach Otto Lacayo, whose team fell, 25-16, 25-19, 25-23, in its Rio Hondo League home match against Temple City on Tuesday. “We are definitely still figuring things out.
“We have a lot of new players on board, so we knew it would take some time to make the adjustments [playing at the varsity level].”
La Cañada dipped to 6-7, 1-1 in league. Temple City improved to 13-5, 1-1. The teams will meet again May 1 at Temple City.
The Spartans, who advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division III quarterfinals last season, received 12 kills from Mel Schroeder, 24 assists from Connor Walbrecht and 14 digs from Connor Belcher. Unfortunately for the Spartans, it wasn’t enough to top the Rams.
“We are still a work in progress,” said Schroeder, a sophomore outside hitter. “We still believe that we will get it together.
“It was a little frustrating today. If we made a mistake, then we seemed to get down. We just have to stick with it.”
Temple City, which received 17 assists from Josh Li, performed well defensively en route to turning back La Cañada.
The Spartans closed to within 19-18 on a kill by Jeff Lee in the third game. The Rams took a 23-18 lead before the Spartans cut the deficit to 24-23. A kill by Ali Elhawary clinched the victory for Temple City.
In the second game, Temple City held a 14-12 advantage before going on a 9-0 run to make it 23-12. La Cañada countered with a 7-1 run of its own to narrow the lead to 24-19 before the Rams got the final point to take a 2-0 lead.
A kill by Schroeder made it 12-12 in the first game. Temple City used a 11-2 run to take a 23-14 lead.
Lacayo said the Spartans have plenty of time to regroup.
“They took the loss to heart and they will learn from it,” Lacayo said. “It will make them get even stronger because of that.”
Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich .