By Riley Segal
Assoc. Sports Editor
Photo by Tucker Judkins
Online Managing Editor
The girls’ volleyball team fell to Monrovia in four sets with scores of 23-25, 9-25, 25-18, and 18-25 on South Pas’ Senior Night, Thursday, October 20. This marks the Tigers’ second straight loss and third loss in Rio Hondo, putting their league record at 6-3 and 8-7 overall. Previously, South Pas had been defeated in three sets against the Wildcats. While the Tigers had strong plays, they were still unable to overcome Monrovia’s powerful offense and strong defense.
Before the game began, seniors Amelia De Young, Maddy Hirano, Molly Feldmeth, Kate Kutzer, Ariana Woodworth, and Megan Wong were introduced to the crowd with their parents. Fellow teammates presented them with gifts before the younger Tigers gave speeches that honored each senior. Feldmeth returned to play in her last home league game after receiving a concussion earlier in the week.
The first set opened with a Wildcat ball hit out, followed by an ace from junior Lily Turner-Kipke. Monrovia responded with a block to earn a point of its own, though junior Maddie Saito retaliated with a kill. Soon enough, the Wildcats garnered a small lead off of kills and Tiger errors, though Feldmeth tried to keep the score fairly close will several spikes. Eventually South Pas was able to tie the set at 13-13, and the two sides were kept within a point of each other until Monrovia began to break away, though only by a small amount. The Wildcats slipped many kills and serves past the Tiger defense despite a strong effort from Hirano, who managed to keep several hits in play. The high-intensity set ended after a South Pas player hit the ball out of bounds to leave the score at 23-25.
The second set opened with a Tiger point after a spike from Saito caused a Wildcat to lift the ball. However, Monrovia earned a point off of a kill, and immediately seized a lead that steadily grew larger. The Wildcat defense picked up a majority of the Tigers’ offensive attempts and was able to put numerous kills and aces past South Pas. Saito garnered a kill before a Monrovia kill finished the set by a wide margin at 9-25.
The Tigers had a rocky start during the third set after a serve into the net and an onslaught of offensive attacks by the Wildcats. South Pas picked itself up however, and the momentum began to swing back in the Tigers’ favor. Brown, Hirano, Kutzer, and Woodworth each made saves that led up to kills from Feldmeth and Saito. A kill from junior Harper Fox put South Pas within a point, and a Monrovia serve into the net tied the set at 5-5. A Feldmeth ace gave the Tigers the lead, which they kept for the remainder of the third. South Pas’ energy was also reinvigorated by the arrival of a larger crowd. Hirano had a seven-point serving streak, while Fox garnered three consecutive kills. As the Tigers neared 25 points, the Wildcats attempted to stage a comeback, and managed to earn six additional points before a Monrovia serve into the net gave South Pas the set at 25-18.
Despite the shift in momentum during the third, the Tigers were unable to find that same rhythm in the fourth and final set. The two teams remained even until they were tied at 8-8. From there, Monrovia dominated on offense and was able to defend a large amount of the Tigers’ attempts to score. Woodworth earned two aces, and South Pas blocked two of the Wildcats’ hits to bring in more points. However, despite the large effort, Feldmeth earned the Tigers’ final point off of a kill before an awry South Pas save and a Monrovia ace concluded the game at 18-25.
“I think we played more aggressively than the last time we played them, which helped a lot,” Feldmeth said. “Our strength was our energy, but our biggest weakness was communication, which cost us a lot of points. I expect us to come out really strong against La Cañada and that we will have a lot of determination.”
The Tigers next battle La Cañada on the road on Monday, October 24, where the two will vie for second place in Rio Hondo. South Pas beat the Spartans in four sets during the two teams’ last matchup, and the Tigers look to find the same outcome to secure second and put their league record at 7-3 and overall record at 9-7.
Molly Feldmeth: 15 kills, 1 ace, 17 digs
Maddie Saito: 11 kills, 12 digs
Harper Fox: 6 kills, 1 dig
Maddy Hirano: 1 ace, 18 digs
Ariana Woodworth: 3 aces, 8 digs
Kate Kutzer: 1 ace, 8 digs
Lily Turner-Kipke: 1 ace, 3 digs