By Jung Su Park
The boys’ varsity volleyball team traveled to Santa Barbara to participate in the Dos Pueblos Invitational held at Dos Pueblos and Santa Barbara High Schools on Saturday, March 14, coming out of the tournament with a 7-1 record, placing first in their pool. The tournament consisted of 30 competing CIF Southern Section squads from ranging divisions. South Pas was matched up with Division I and Division II high schools Harvard-Westlake, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, and Capistrano Valley, playing two sets with each team.
First up in the Tigers’ schedule was the Harvard-Westlake Wolverines. The Tigers opened up the first set by taking an advantage of the smaller sized Wolverines. South Pas consistently hit past Harvard-Westlake’s blocking attempts and made quick, tough serves which the Wolverines had difficulty receiving. The Tigers took the first set 25-16. The Wolverine offense fired right back, however, making sure the second set would be more competitive. Near the end the second set, the Tigers saw themselves down 17-20 after multiple mistakes, but managed to crawl back into the lead, pulling away with a 25-23 win. The Tigers were now 2-0 in the tournament.
South Pas faced San Luis Obispo High School in the next two sets. The Tigers had no difficulty against their opponent and defeated them 25-14. The lopsided victory came as a result of good coordination between the hitters and setters. This flow continued into the second set, and the Tigers beat SLO 25-21. South Pasadena was up with an impressive 4-0 set record.
Ventura was up next for the Tigers’ tournament run. The Cougars were much more advantageous in stature and size than the Tigers; however, South Pasadena had no trouble routing them 25-10 in the first set. The Tigers stepped up their serving game with good coverage on offensive hits. The second set’s score read 25-21, putting the Tigers at a 6-0 record heading into the final six sets of the tournament.
The Tigers’ last opponent of the invitational was Capistrano Valley. Looking to finish the pool at first place with an undefeated 8-0 record. However, this goal was countered with a Capistrano Valley 25-23 victory. The experienced CVHS team displayed strong outside hitting which passed through South Pas block attempts. The Tigers couldn’t get much going to start the game off, but came back with a few key blocks and impressive digs in the back row. South Pas couldn’t hold on, and lost a close set, 25-23. The second set was different from the first for the Tigers, as they beat Capistrano Valley in an extended 27-25 set. The two teams traded points back and forth up until the last points of the set. South Pas got the edge after junior defensive specialist Scott Kawakami’s passing set up junior outside hitter Greg Luck‘s numerous kills down the stretch. The Tigers posted an impressive 7-1 set record to place first in their pool.
The next event on the the boys’ schedule is their league opener, an away game at La Canada on Thursday, March 26. The Tigers look to improve to 3-0 overall record and 1-0 league record.