SAN MARINO — What had the feel of a scrimmage certainly had the look and scores to back it up Wednesday afternoon.
A sharp-looking, senior-loaded San Marino High boys’ volleyball continued its mission to rebound from a subpar 2012 season by knocking off young and inexperienced Pasadena Poly, 25-6, 25-19, 25-14, in nonleague play.
“This is a great way to start the season to see what we can do,” said San Marino second-year Coach Scott Barton, whose team is virtually at the halfway point of wins in comparison to last year’s 5-14 squad. “We have 12 seniors on this team and we’re still working on the right combinations.”
It didn’t seem to matter what rotation the Titans threw out versus the Panthers (0-1) as they were dominant throughout most of the match.
“We just started out really strong and it helped that Poly gave us a lot of points,” San Marino’s Daniel Chee said. “In the second game, we had some subs come in and we had a little bit of a letdown in energy before putting it away.”
The Titans received their best challenge from the Panthers, who lost by 19 points in the first game, in the second game as Poly trailed, 15-12, after a kill from Alex Veitch.
Both teams then seemingly traded points as the deficit remained at three points until 20-17.
That’s when Poly closed to within one on single kills from Adam Stanford-Moore and Carl Lehman.
On the brink of tying, Poly showed its youth in committing either hitter or ball-handling errors over four of the next five possessions with San Marino only requiring a stuff from senior Ryan Blasher in finishing off the Panthers, 25-19.
“We just have a lot of new players, a lot of guys coming up from junior varsity and they’re going to make those mistakes,” first-year Panthers Coach Jack Prater said. “We only have one returning varsity player, so it’s going to take a while to hit those high expectations we set for ourselves.”
Prater’s squad looked suspect to begin as the team arrived without jerseys and played in T-shirts with different logos varying from USC, Occidental College to the Crown City United Soccer Club.
“I honestly thought today was a scrimmage, so our jerseys weren’t ready,” Prater said. “Had I known, we could have used last year’s jerseys or this year’s. We’ll definitely have jerseys for Friday’s game against Oakwood.”
Poly took an 8-7 advantage behind two kills and a block from Stanford-Moore in the third game as both teams remained close for the next few possessions.
The Titans broke open a 10-10 tie with seven straight points, fueled by three of Blasher’s match-high 10 kills, in going up 17-10.
Perhaps the biggest play of the run came after back-to-back spikes from Blasher, when he stuffed an attempt from Stanford-Moore to put the Titans up seven.
Stanford-Moore did bounce back with a kill through a Blasher block attempt on the next possession to snap San Marino’s streak.
However, San Marino scored the final six points in clinching the win.
“I thought we had some letdowns,” San Marino’s Kristopher Quon said, “but in the end we did what he had to do.”