By Riley Segal
Photos by Matthew Scholtz
The girls’ volleyball team fell to Westridge on the road in their second CIF matchup in three sets with scores of 17-25, 25-27, and 16-25. Westridge finished third in the Prep league, and was seeded fifth in MaxPreps’ playoff predictions, while South Pas was ranked sixth. The away team fought hard throughout the match, but it was not enough to come out on top. Senior Taleen Mitchell played through her injury to bring out the best in what would be her last game for SPHS.
With the Tiger as their mascot, both teams brought many fans to the game, though Westridge still had the homecourt advantage. The sixth seeded team opened the first set with two aces from junior Molly Feldmeth, but Westridge quickly retaliated with a kill. The home team soon gained an increasing lead, but South Pas tried to hold on, fueled with kills from Feldmeth and junior Kate Kutzer. Senior Katie Sokolow also garnered a few kills and many hits. Westridge, however, pulled further ahead, bolstered by constant powerful kills and blocks. The home team also stopped many of South Pas’ opportunities with effective blocks. Although junior Maddy Hirano was able to make many spectacular digs and saves, it was not enough to save South Pas from falling 17-25, the set ending off of a Westridge kill.
A Kutzer kill started the second half, followed by a Sokolow kill and a Mitchell ace. Mitchell, determined to push past her injury, played almost the entire match and earned multiple kills for South Pas. The sixth seeded team clutched onto its lead for a portion of the set, but Westridge managed to overtake it until towards the end. The away team struggled to hit balls past the home team’s solid blocks. However, South Pas came back from an eight point deficit to tie the set at 24-24, powered by serves from Sokolow. The away squad gained a one-point lead off of a kill from Mitchell, but a ball hit out from South Pas and a Westridge block would ultimately end the extremely narrow set at 25-27.
Westridge kicked off the third and final set with a block, but South Pas, bent on fighting until the last point, battled back with a Kutzer kill. The home team struck back with two consecutive kills and jumped to an early lead. South Pas would not be able to recover, and trailed Westridge for the remainder of the set. Hirano continued to draw cheers from the crowd with stellar saves, and Kutzer and Feldmeth also added to the South Pas effort with several kills and a few tips. It was not enough to save the game as two back-to-back Westridge kills ended the set at 16-25, concluding South Pasadena’s 2015 season.
“It’s really tough to lose, but we fought really hard and we had a great overall season,” Mitchell. “I’m disappointed that we lost, but it felt amazing to be the league champions again. I’m looking forward to coming back and watching future South Pas games.”
This loss to Westridge finalized South Pas’ 2015 season with an impressive overall record of 21-4. South Pas earned the league title with a near-perfect league record of 9-1, accomplishing this with only two seniors. The girls are looking forward to next season, and are determined to defend the Rio Hondo league title in the upcoming year.