By Riley Segal
Photos by Matt Scholtz
The girls’ volleyball team squared off against rival San Marino High School at home on Tuesday, October 6, in their second league matchup, beating the Titans in four sets with scores 25-18, 18-25, 25-19, and 25-19. The Tigers’ league record stands at 2-0, while their overall record is 9-1.
“It felt great beating San Marino, and it was definitely an exciting win, but I think we should have won in three sets,” junior Kate Kutzer said.
A kill from senior Taleen Mitchell opened the first set, but San Marino still managed to pull ahead of South Pas. The Tigers were behind until the momentum shifted in their favor, fueled by strong defensive performances from junior Maddy Hirano and senior Katie Sokolow, as well as kills from Kutzer, junior Molly Feldmeth and sophomore Maddie Saito, who also had a block. A serving streak from Hirano, laced with multiple aces, put the Tigers in the lead. Though the Titans were able to gain a few kills against the Tigers, it was not enough give San Marino the lead again. More powerful hits and kills were seen from Feldmeth, Kutzer, and Mitchell, and a block from Feldmeth and sophomore Harper Fox ended the set at 25-18.
The second set was not as successful as the previous one, resulting in a loss for South Pas. Kutzer kicked off the set with an ace, and the Tigers had the lead for the beginning of the set. The Titans, however, were able to gain momentum and jump in front towards the middle of the match. Strong serves from San Marino startled the Tigers, and though they were able to dig many of the Titans’ hits, it was not enough to win them the set. Feldmeth, Kutzer, and Mitchell remained strong offensively, as well as defensively with Hirano and Sokolow, but the Titans managed to win the set, ending it with a Titan ace at a score of 18-25.
The loss of the second set did not deter the Tigers in the third. San Marino inched ahead of South Pas, and after the Tigers caught up, the two teams remained fairly even until the Tigers were able to break free. Many of the Titans’ hits went out-of-bounds, which assisted the Tigers in keeping their lead. The level of play was not much different from the first set, and many players continued to perform well on defense and offense. A hit from Feldmeth finished the set at 25-19.
Similarly to the preceding sets, the Titans gained an early lead with hard serves and strong hits in the fourth set. The Tigers were able to tie the set at 16-16 after Kutzer smashed a kill into the middle of the Titan defense to terminate a long, hard-fought rally. From there, South Pas was able to edge in front of San Marino, and would go on to win the set by a score of 25-19 from a block from Fox and Kutzer. Throughout all the sets, the hitting from the Tigers was consistent, and spectacular saves were made all around the court.
“A few mistakes were made, but overall, we’re really connected on the court, and we’re always picking each other up after we make errors. However, we sometimes get flustered and it can be easy to become caught up in our mistakes, which is a weakness of ours,” Kutzer said.
South Pas hopes to beat their rival Titans in three sets and improve on the mistakes they made when the two face each other again.
“The Titans surprised us with their strong serves, so next time our serve-receive against them will be much better since we’ll be prepared for it,” Hirano said. “This wasn’t our best game, but when we play against them again I think we’ll perform much better, and hopefully not lose another set to San Marino. We want to be fearless and confident on Thursday, too, when we play Monrovia and hopefully we’ll beat them in three sets.”
The Tigers will face Monrovia High School at home on Thursday, October 8, where they are optimistic about staying undefeated in league. They look to improve their league record to 3-0 and their overall record to 10-1.