Photos by Kevin Huang
Senior Staff Photographer
After becoming league champions a week ago, boys’ volleyball dominated in its first CIF game of the season, on Tuesday, May 9. The team easily dispatched the Santiago Sharks in four sets, while advancing to the second round of the playoffs. Despite a lethargic start, the team gradually improved its blocking and play development near the net.
Small mental errors and troubling reception allowed the Sharks to take an early lead in the first set. South Pasadena struggled to piece cohesive possessions together, which kept its outside strikers relatively silent. The team slowly recovered, as senior Matt Scholtz and junior Cole Schroeder started to become active up front. A pair of senior Lucas Fox kills helped South Pasadena to cut the deficit to 19-17. The audiences tensed up, as the Tigers reduced the lead behind a series of stunning kills from Scholtz. In a dramatic rally, a block from junior Maxton Lam, allowed South Pas to take its first lead of the set. After losing the lead shortly after, senior Gunther Vaden kept South Pasadena alive with a clutch kill. A Santiago service error and concise kill from junior Kyle Woo allowed South Pasadena to clinch its first win of the game.
After seizing momentum in the first set, the team established an overwhelming presence up front. Vaden loomed over the net, constantly foiling Santiago spikes with his brutish hands. As the Tigers’ reception improved, they were able to feed their strikers and develop sustainable offense. Despite building a substantial lead, the team faltered after seeming to grow overconfident and relaxed.
With the game set in a 1-1 tie, the Tigers prevailed with good service from Schroeder, and tenacious spiking from Scholtz, Vaden and Fox. What was once a closely contested match, quickly became a merciless massacre, as South Pasadena poached the Sharks in the final two sets.
South Pas will face off with the 55th nationally ranked Santa Monica volleyball team on Thursday, May 10. The Tigers will have the opportunity to play in their own gym at 7:00 pm. Student tickets will be available for $5, while general admission tickets will cost $7.