Photo by Alicia Alderete
Boys’ volleyball was defeated by the Arcadia Apaches in their opening CIF match on Tuesday, Apr. 30. The entire Tiger roster performed valiantly in what was their best team performance yet, but ultimately fell in four sets to the visitors.
The two teams had met twice prior to Tuesday night, splitting the season series and managing to muster up a rivalry during their meetings. Both South Pas and Arcadia rode seven game winning streak into their matchup and continued on their impressive play into the first round of playoffs.
Both teams came quick on their feet, with the first three rallies exceeding ten exchanges. However, the Apaches jumped out to an early five point lead and would maintain the cushion for the majority of the opening set. Senior Addison Hsiao and sophomore Colin Sheng were busy early, often laying out to keep the rally going for the Tigers. Junior Tyler Lieu would utilize several cheeky dumps to deke out the visitors, adding to the Tiger’s score and preventing the Arcadia lead from ballooning. A pair of spikes from lanky hitters senior Paul Pan and junior Dylan Schreibfeder propelled a Tiger comeback, evening the game score at 17. However, the Tigers were unable to secure the resurgence, ultimately falling in the first set 25-19.
However, the home Tigers and their crowd were unfazed and continued their high energy and gritty play into the following set. Senior Jonathan Zhu filled in admirably as libero, enabling a fatigued Hsiao to take a much needed break. Although Pan continued to rain down powerful strikes, Arcadia’s middle blockers matched their jumps perfectly, forcing South Pas to resort to unsuccessful attempts at tipping it over the outstretched Apache fingers. Forced to quickly change their game plan, the Tigers suffered from miscommunication on defense, awarding free points to an already streaking Apache offense. Arcadia would go to easily take the second set by a score of 25-14.
The Tigers would not go down easy in the third set. Riding a resurgence of momentum, South Pas opened up the third set with three unanswered points. Hsiao continued vacuum up any potential points heading to the ground, setting up Pan, Schreibfeder, and senior Jason Barrientos with multiple scoring opportunities. The Tigers maintained a marginal lead throughout the set, finding trouble asserting a commanding advantage against the fundamentally sound Apaches. Though many Tigers performed exceptionally, South Pas’ third set hero was none other than sophomore Nolan Call, who was promoted to the varsity roster for the playoffs. Although Call exhibited his versatility with timely blocks and accurately placed finishes, the Tigers saw their lead disappear and found themselves tied at 22. However, the Tigers were able to finish off the pesky visitors, as senior Evan Chee was able to secure the set point, causing the home crowd to erupt in Tiger chants.
After enabling the visitors to jump out to another early lead, South Pas found themselves playing catch up once again. Full body layouts not only displayed the home team’s perseverance, but also revived the home crowd, causing the visitors to become rattled. A key moment occurred when Barrientos finished off a never-ending rally to even the score at 9. From that point on, the set would be a deadlock, as both teams would exchange emotionally charged kills. However, Arcadia began to pull ahead and took a fourth set advantage by a score of 24-20. South Pas did not let up easily, successfully fending off three consecutive match points before being finished off by a powerful Apache kill.
This concludes a stellar year for the SPHS boys’ volleyball team, with a league title and a Division II CIF berths. Multiple players also earned these Rio Hondo League awards for the Tigers’ championship season.
Most Valuable Player: Senior Addison Hsiao
First Team: Junior Tyler Lieu
Second Team: Senior Jason Barrientos, Junior Dylan Schreibfeder
Honorable Mention: Senior Paul Pan
Coach of the Year: Ivy Chew
With the senior heavy team losing the majority of their squadron due to graduation, the Tigers will depend on underclassmen to step up and guide the team to another, more successful playoff run.