By Riley Segal
Assoc. Sports Editor
Photos by Tucker Judkins
Online Managing Editor
The girls’ volleyball team claimed second place in Rio Hondo after defeating La Cañada on the Spartans’ Senior Night in four sets on Monday, October 24. South Pas took the first set 25-13, though La Cañada won the second 17-25. The Tigers rebounded to narrowly earn the third set 25-23 and fourth set 26-24. This final league victory puts South Pas’ Rio Hondo record at 7-3.
The Tigers quickly earned the first two points of the set off of kills from junior Sophia Benzoni and senior Molly Feldmeth. South Pas maintained this lead throughout the set, aided from additional kills by juniors Harper Fox and Maddie Saito. Senior Ariana Woodworth also garnered two aces. La Cañada was able to score several points off of kills, though senior Maddy Hirano was able to defend several of the Spartan’s spikes. Errors, such as balls going out and being out of position, from La Cañada also contributed to South Pas’ lead. Two consecutive kills from Fox ended the first set 25-23.
The Spartans were the ones to strike early and keep the lead during the second set. La Cañada scored three points before Feldmeth won the Tigers’ first point of the set with a kill. Though South Pas briefly tied the score at 4-4 after a Feldmeth block, the Spartans dominated offensively, and did not allow the Tigers another chance to catch up. Saito and Fox also contributed to South Pas’ attacks, and were able to send spikes into holes in La Cañada’s defense. Fox scored the last point for South Pas before a Spartan ace finished the set at 17-25.
La Cañada scored five points at the beginning of the third set off of kills and Tiger errors before an ace from Woodworth put South Pas on the board. After tying at 6-6, the two teams remained even. Feldmeth, Fox, and Saito were the large contributors to South Pas’ offensive effort, as well as sophomore Kimi Brown, who blocked several Spartan spikes and had hits of her own. The Tigers and La Cañada were tied at 20-20 before a Saito kill allowed the South Pas to inch forward. Senior Amelia De Young followed with a kill off of an off-target Spartan pass. La Cañada attempted to reach another tie to keep the set going before a kill from Feldmeth concluded the third set at a score of 25-23.
The Spartans again earned the first few points of the third set due to aces and hits, and the Tigers were only able to garner their first two points off of La Cañada errors. South Pas began to find its rhythm, however, and managed to connect to form a small lead. The Spartans were determined not to fall in the fourth, and pelted the Tiger defense with hits and tips. Hirano and Woodworth were able to keep several in play, but despite this effort La Cañada still was able to jump in front. Though the Spartans led, it was not by much as South Pas continued to chip away at La Cañada’s defense with many hits from Feldmeth, Fox, and Saito. Brown continued to block, and eventually the Tigers came back from a 21-24 deficit to tie at 24-24 after a Saito kill. De Young had another kill off of a Spartan free ball before a Feldmeth ace narrowly closed the set at 26-24.
“It’s a bummer that we didn’t get first place, but I’m happy that we finished out the season strong and got second,” Feldmeth said. “We had a lot of resilience when we were down in the fourth set, which was a big strength today, but a weakness of ours was not starting out strong.”
This concludes league play for the Tigers, who will continue their postseason play in CIF. South Pas’ first CIF game will be on Tuesday, November 1, though the opponent and location are still to be determined.
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