First published in the Oct. 7 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.
Polytechnic’s varsity girls’ volleyball team took care of business and swept host Flintridge Prep, 25-22, 25-21 and 25-15, in a league match on Monday.
Poly’s Emily Wen recorded a match-high 21 kills as Flintridge Prep had no answer for her powerful attack. She also had seven assists, four digs, one block and one ace, helping her team move its record to 7-1 in league play (12-2 overall).
“[Wen] is very consistent, and I think that’s what we can rely on her for,” said Katrina Damasco-Dicipulo, Poly’s head coach. “She comes in almost every game and gives it her best, and Emily is … a leader by example on the court. That’s why we love her and turn to her in most of our matches.”
Prep’s Ashby Zubchevich had a terrific performance despite the loss, logging team-highs in kills (12) and aces (four).
The first set was the closest, as the Panthers edged the Wolves, 25-22. The set saw four lead changes and four ties before either team scored double-digit points.
Down by three late in the set, Prep mounted five consecutive points. A crucial block by Prep’s Amelia Bechthold and Jessica Powell tied it at 18 apiece, then kills by Elise Desjarlais and Zubchevich put the Wolves up 20-18 before Poly called a timeout.
The pause helped the Panthers, as Wen and Maja Keatley combined for three kills to reclaim Poly’s advantage, 21-20. It was the last lead change of the set as the Panthers held on to the win.
Although the Wolves tied the second set twice, Poly never let them pull ahead, winning in another close game, 25-21.
Zubchevich’s kill tied it, 13-13, but Poly’s Tilde Keatley answered with a kill to reclaim the lead, one the Panthers didn’t relinquish.
Prep kept it close with additional kills by Zubchevich, but errors got the best of the Wolves as Poly claimed another victory.
The Wolves found some life in the third set, as kills by Powell and Desjarlais, along with a miscue by Poly, gave Prep an early 3-1 lead.
Consecutive aces by Irina Alsoufiev gave the Panthers the edge, 5-4, until a kill by Zubchevich tied it again. Wen’s kill gave the Panthers the lead for good.
Poly’s five consecutive points punctuated an 18-9 advantage, including kills by Wen and Cyanne Jones.
Desjarlais did well to keep Prep within striking distance, logging 11 kills and one block. Powell (four kills), Bechthold (three), Chase Sullivan (one) and Melody Huang (one) also contributed.
Defensively, Sullivan and Powell each had a game-high three blocks, while Prep’s Camille Pai and Bechthold each added two, and Desjarlais tallied one.
“I think that our middles [Sullivan and Powell] did well today blocking,” said Reed Bradley, Flintridge Prep’s head coach. “Defensively, I thought we were keeping ourselves in it. I think for us, it’s just cleaning up some little things, making sure that we’re taking advantage of the opportunities we get on our side.”
In addition to Wen’s standout performance, Jones recorded eight kills, three digs and one ace. Teammate Kayla Chu’s ball-handling was stellar as she tallied 23 assists, while Rebekah Hong added five.
Nine Panthers recorded at least one dig in the contest, as Hong (14) and Alsoufiev (nine) led the way.
Poly will visit Westridge for a league match on Friday, Oct. 8, at 5:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, Flintridge Prep (3-5 in league, 9-8 overall) will host Arcadia Rio Hondo Prep in a league match today, Thursday, at 5:30 p.m.