By Jung Su Park
The boys’ volleyball team opened up the postseason after winning the Rio Hondo league title in a dominant manner. South Pas faced earned a victory against the Bishop Amat Lancers in an away matchup with the set scores 25-21, 25-14, 26-24 to sweep the home team 3-0. The Tigers currently stand on a formidable 23-1-1 overall record.
South Pasadena put up another slow start as Tiger hitters continually made errors on their kill attempts. Bishop Amat gained easy points and established an early 9-7 lead. However, freshman Cole Schroeder displayed fantastic outing with accurate serves that sparked the Tiger offense, contributing to the 13-4 run.The Tigers took a commanding stance near the end of the first set at 20-12, but gradually lost their control due to overconfidence. Bishop Amat forced a 8-3 comeback run to inch closer at 23-20. The home team’s efforts would be in vain, however, as South Pas avoided the scare and finished the opening set 25-21.
Senior Aydin Pasebani perfectly set up junior Teodore Davis for a smashing kill down the Lancer ground to mark the first blood of the second set. The Tigers gained a huge momentum from the play and got themselves in a groove under the offensive leadership of junior Greg Luck and sophomore Matthew Scholtz, outscoring the Lancers 10-3. South Pas made an evident improvement as the Tigers reduced the errors that they made in the opening set. Senior Paul Novak showcased a strong blocking effort to impose difficulties on the Lancer hitters while Schroeder and Pasebani kept up their consistent setting to bring out their best playmaking abilities. Each member of the unified Tiger team combined talent to cruise past the home team 25-14.
Tiger coach Benjamin Diaz slightly changed up the lineup heading into the third set to allow reserves to build confidence and gain game-time experience. Junior Joshua Karalis played the outside hitter position while sophomore Lucas Fox filled in as the middle. Bishop Amat maintained its starting players on the court in an effort to take advantage against the bench, but the Tigers did not back down easily as they saw themselves down only 10-7 and managed to keep the match even at 14-14. However, South Pas’s defense became shaky near the end of the third set as the Lancers scored two critical kills to go up 23-21. The Tigers did not lose their cool as Pasebani pulled off clutch aces to even the third set at 23-23. Bishop Amat fired back with a kill to go up 23-24 for the match point, but three respective kills from junior Matthew Ng, Luck, and Scholtz led to a 26-24 Tiger victory to complete the 3-0 sweep.
The next event on the Tigers’ schedule is the first round CIF playoffs matchup on Tuesday, May 11. The exact opponent is not yet announced, but the boys look to make a deep postseason run and secure another title no matter which team the Tigers will face next week.