By Jung Su Park
Photos by Matt Scholtz
The boys’ varsity volleyball team combined forces to top the San Marino Titans in four sets today in the away league match. Greg and Max Luck once again led South Pasadena to its sixth straight Rio Hondo league win and 21-1-1 overall record by prevailing on the Tigers’ offensive end with 22 and 19 kills, respectively.
San Marino was eager to avenge the Titans’ 3-0 loss against South Pas in the Tiger gym earlier in the season and was able to hold a tight grip against the visiting team. The Tigers put up a slow start to the game with numerous errors especially on serving. Such trends formed an even game flow with both teams trading back and forth until the midway through the first set with 14-14. At that point of the game, Max Luck stuffed down a San Marino hitter’s kill attempt down the court to get himself an impressive block on the stats sheet as well as spark up the Tigers’ offensive firepower. South Pas never looked back and made an 11-4 run to rally past the Titans 25-18 through strong offense.
The Tigers showed improvement on their performance by making less mistakes and giving up less easy points for the Titans, establishing a considerable 15-8 lead. However, serving woes repeated to haunt the Tigers all the way until the end of the period as San Marino started to make a comeback. In addition to the frequent Tiger mistakes, the Titans turned on its offensive strategies. South Pas allowed the home team to gradually creep back up to tie the score at 20-20. The Tigers attempted to shake off their sloppiness and slow down the home team’s momentum by taking a timeout, but ended up allowing the Titans’ 17-8 run to lose the second set 25-23.
South Pasadena was determined to bounce back from messy play during the second period and showcase a stunning game play. The Tigers just did that, exerting full focus on both offense and defense to go up 14-6 then eventually 25-15 to quickly finish off the third period. Sophomores Gunther Vaden and Lucas Fox experienced increased playing time and stepped up outside of their roles to contribute to the Tiger offense. Vaden and Fox consistently countered the San Marino kill attempts by blocking the ball at the top of the net. South Pas completely shut down the home team 25-15 and went up 2-1 in the series, having one more set victory to accomplish before securing the game win.
San Marino entered the fourth period with a fighting mentality and featured intense efforts in a desperation heave to force a fifth set and avoid a 3-1 defeat. South Pas appeared to let the home team hold the commanding tone with an early 4-1 deficit, but the Tigers came right back. Offense was key to South Pasadena’s game strategy in which senior defensive specialist Aydin Pasebani often switching up the plays to set for outside hitters who got every look they wanted to impose extreme difficulties for the Titan defense. South Pas made several mistakes once again down the stretch to keep the game fairly close, but was able to drop the Titans 25-20 with relative ease.
“The game was a lot tighter than it should have been,” junior outside hitter Matthew Ng said. “We definitely could have ended the game earlier and pull another 3-0 sweeping victory, but our sloppiness plagued our play.”
The next event on the Tigers’ schedule is Senior Night, the last home game of the Rio Hondo League season which is against the Temple City Rams on Tuesday, April 28. South Pas looks to stay undefeated throughout the regular season and rise to a 22-1-1 overall record and 7-0 league record with the victory against the Rams.
G. Luck: 22 kills
M. Luck: 19 kills, 5 blocks