PASADENA — Saturday was a chance for either the Pasadena Poly or Flintridge Prep girls' volleyball teams to do away with disappointing starts to the Prep League season.
Of course, only one side came out feeling good about itself and that distinction went to the Panthers, as they swept the Rebels, 25-17, 25-21, 25-14. The win gave Poly, which started league on a three-match losing streak, a two-sweep streak after it beat Westridge in three games at home Thursday.
"The last two matches were really important," said Poly's Becca Hanel, a defensive specialist who started at setter with starter Dani Smith out of town. "They're home games and we wanted to play strong and get these two wins under our belt and start the second half [of league] out really strong."
Although Prep couldn't pull out the victory, Prep Coach Sean Beattie was encouraged by what he saw from his team, particularly in the second game.
"I told the girls if you can play every game like you played in Game Two, we'll compete with everybody and we'll probably have a few wins in league right now," said Beattie, whose team gave up a six-point, three five-point and two three-point runs throughout Saturday's match. "The difference is we aren't strong enough to give up runs of points right now."
Poly (8-6, 2-3 in league) came into the match 1-3 in league after suffering heartbreaking five-game losses to Webb and Mayfield. The Rebels (3-8, 0-6 in league) saw their losing streak grow to seven Saturday.
It's all credit to the depth of talented teams in the league said Poly Coach Steve Beerman, who added he believes it's the top league in CIF Southern Section Division II.
"You have to show up and play every day and you can't take a day off or you're going to lose," said Beerman, who had star players Alexis Genske and Michelle Miller graduate last year. "That can be a challenge because, to be honest, we were a little spoiled last year. I think it's been a learning experience that you have to come mentally, emotionally and physically every game."
The Panthers used two key runs of four and five straight points en route to a first-game win. The latter was fueled by a kill and an ace from Alex Clark and two Prep hitting errors that put them up, 21-13. A kill from Cat Davidson gave Poly game point, 24-16, and DeeDee Logan logged the winner.
The second game featured eight ties and three lead changes. The Rebels used an early 6-0 run to go up, 8-2. The Panthers rebounded and used a 12-5 run out of a timeout to take their first lead, 14-13, since early on in the game.
Both teams traded points to tie the game at 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 before Poly closed out the game with a 7-3 run. Logan had a huge second game for the Panthers, as seven of her match-high 13 kills came in the frame.
"DeeDee plays like that every time," Beerman said. "Every time she shows up to play she's a great passer, great defender and can hit from the outside. She's a complete player and she dictated our pace."
"I just felt like we really needed to pick it up in that situation," Logan said. "We were down and I think our energy level was down, too, so we needed to work on that. All of us stepped it up after that, we picked it up and worked harder in the third game."
Daniella Motte was just as impressive for Flintridge Prep in the middle game, as she logged eight of her team-high 12 kills in the game.
"I told them in Game Two we played well and they beat us, and I can live with that," Beattie said. "I can live with a defeat. I can't live with allowing other teams to beat us by playing poorly."
Poly pieced together a 6-0 and two 5-0 and 3-0 runs each en route to a third-game win and sweep. Davidson led the Panthers in the finale with four kills.
Lauren Stiles finished with eight kills for the Rebels, who also received a team-high 12 digs from Bryn McFadden.
The Panthers may have had 13 service errors in the match, but they also had 15 aces, with Clark posting a match-high four, and Logan and Hanel (23 assists) finishing with two each.