HomeBlocksFront-GridLCHS Defeats Crosstown Rival Flintridge Sacred Heart

LCHS Defeats Crosstown Rival Flintridge Sacred Heart

First published in the Sept. 8 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

The La Cañada High School varsity girls’ volleyball team swept crosstown rival Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, 25-8, 25-14, 25-8, in a nonleague match at an energy-filled LCHS gym on Tuesday evening.
The Spartans were in complete control throughout the match, posting high-scoring runs and stellar defense while limiting the Tologs’ offensive opportunities.
“That’s the kind of environment that makes you love doing high school volleyball. For both teams, it feels like a community event — crosstown rival, friends of friends, so I’m having a blast,” LCHS head coach Laura Browder said. “We weren’t really playing for a scoreboard; we’re always trying to make sure that we’re using every moment to prepare us for playoffs.”
The second set saw the only lead change of the match, as FSHA tied it 1-1 on a La Cañada error. The Tologs kept that match within four points until LCHS junior Haley Clark registered back-to-back aces, sparking a 9-1 scoring run that gave the Spartans a 19-9 advantage. A FSHA serving error and consecutive aces by junior Tatum Purdy ended the second game and gave LCHS a 2-0 set advantage. Clark led the LCHS offense, registering team-high marks in aces (five), kills (13) and blocks (five) while adding four digs.
“Some of my old teammates are on FSHA, so it definitely made it more exciting but I think our whole team played really well,” Clark said. “I was just looking to have fun and have a big celebration. Our team loves each other and it shows on the court, so we play every point like it’s our last and we have so much fun while we’re doing it.”
LCHS opened the first set on a 5-0 scoring run when Purdy served, forcing FSHA to call a timeout. La Cañada continued to build on its momentum as back-to-back kills by freshman Vani Tatoulian and senior Nikki Hughes, the latter finishing with 12 kills, three digs, one ace and one block. The Spartans’ scoring binge forced the Tologs to call their second timeout of the set facing a 12-4 deficit.
“Nikki Hughes is a legend,” Browder said. “She’s my first four-year player and we got blessed. This past year for club she played outside so her passing and ability to go ‘full six’ has been incredible. I think we incorporated her d-ball, which is a back row attack from the right side, a little bit more so I just love seeing her shine because she is a phenomenal player.”
Purdy led the Spartans on another 5-0 scoring run before Hughes ended the first set with a sharp kill. Purdy had a stellar outing, registering 28 assists, two aces, two kills and two blocks in the winning effort.
“We had a lot of spirit, kept the energy up the whole time and it was just a great overall effort by everyone on the team, including everyone on the bench, everyone on the court and our fans that showed up,” Purdy said. “All my energy comes from my teammates. I truly think this year is going to be a great year with everyone we have. I really can’t take any credit because all my passers and hitters are phenomenal, so I give it to them.”
The Spartans came out strong in the final set. After a kill by FSHA senior Nikki Garriola, Clark sparked an 8-1 scoring run to give La Cañada a 10-2 advantage. Following a FSHA timeout, three straight aces by LCHS senior Rachael Salit started the final 10-3 scoring run the Spartans needed to complete the sweep, capped by Clark’s fifth and final ace of the match. Salit produced five kills and three digs in addition to her three aces.

Flintridge Sacred Heart senior Nikki Garriola produced five kills and six digs as the Tologs lost a crosstown rivalry match at La Cañada.

“Rachel is another great kid,” Browder said. “What I love about her is her hitting percentage and her ace percentage has been really high. She’s kind of like the unsung hero. She comes in and really bails us out a lot so seeing her get those three aces in a row made my heart really smile.”
Junior Chloe Nussbaum tallied three aces, 10 digs and three assists, Tatoulian had two kills and two blocks and sophomore Katie McGuiness logged three blocks, one kill and one assist.
Overall, it was an uncharacteristic outing by the dominant Tologs squad as they seemingly didn’t find the momentum or consistency needed to maintain pace with a powerful La Cañada offense.
“We tried to control our best skillset, which is serving,” FSHA head coach Trent Tcheng said. “We didn’t hit our zones today, we were really unfocused on the service line and when you face La Cañada or South Pas, they have the weapons to make you pay. They exploited us in every single aspect of the game today and we didn’t have any counterpunches. We understand it’s still the beginning of the year and we have the time to fix it but it starts within.”
FSHA junior Emily Smith, who had three digs and five assists, produced the only two aces for the Tologs, which is typically a strong portion of their play.
Garriola led the Tologs with five kills and six digs, junior Luisa Madrigal posted a pair of kills, two digs and one block, sophomore Piper Scherbert tallied one kill, one block and one dig, and senior Keira Limon recorded one kill and one dig. Junior Veronica Udell registered one block and five digs, junior Lindsey Du and sophomore Ally Du each produced five digs, and senior Erin Carney had one dig.
“A crosstown rivalry match is always going to be high energy,” Tcheng said. “It’s a great environment, the crowd was rowdy — that should make you play your best game. Unfortunately, we struggled in that environment but we still have one more rivalry game at the end of the year and hopefully we can build off this.”
The Spartans (6-2 overall) will host La Salle College Preparatory of Pasadena in a nonleague matchup on Thursday, Sept. 8, at 5 p.m. Meanwhile, FSHA (4-3 overall) will host Marlborough High of Los Angeles in a nonleague match on Thursday, Sept. 8, at 6:30 p.m.


The Tologs recently wrapped up their New York trip, winning two of the three nonleague matches they played on the East Coast.
FSHA finished its string of Big Apple competitions by defeating Riverdale Country High in the Bronx, 23-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-17, last Friday. Garriola produced 10 kills and 10 digs, Madrigal and Udell each recorded seven kills, and Carney tallied five kills. Lindsey Du collected 17 digs and five aces, while senior Charlotte Taylor finished with 13 digs and five aces.
FSHA lost the backend of a doubleheader to host Poly Prep Country Day High in Brooklyn, 18-25, 25-19, 16-25, last Thursday, despite Garriola collecting eight kills and five aces. Udell and Madrigal each had five kills while the latter added a pair of blocks, and Taylor notched five aces.
The Tologs won their New York opener by sweeping Fontbonne Hall Academy in Brooklyn, 25-11, 25-11, 25-12, on Sept. 1, as Garriola collected five kills, six aces and 10 digs. Madrigal had four kills, while Limon recorded four kills and two aces.


Flintridge Prep’s Amelia Bechthold registered seven kills to help the Wolves win their Prep League match over Palos Verdes Chadwick.

The Wolves recently swept visiting St. Genevieve High of Panorama City, 25-6, 25-8, 25-11, in a nonleague match last Friday as Jessica Powell collected 10 kills on 14 swings. Candice Huang tallied seven aces, while Marissa Halley had 16 digs.
Flintridge Prep came out on top in a thrilling five-set battle against visiting Chadwick School of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, narrowly winning the Prep League match 22-25, 25-21, 25-22, 22-25, 15-5 last Thursday as Abbie Callaway amassed 18 kills and four aces. Powell produced 14 kills and three blocks, Amelia Bechthold registered seven kills, and Ashlyn Nam tallied six aces and two kills. Halley and Jaleen Tseng finished with 20 and 11 digs, respectively.
The Wolves lost a competitive crosstown rivalry league match to visiting Pasadena Poly, 25-14, 27-25, 25-13, last Tuesday. Despite the sweep, Flintridge Prep went on a 20-12 scoring run against a tough Poly squad after facing a three-point deficit in the second set. The Wolves couldn’t hang on to a set victory, but head coach Reed Bradley was proud of the effort his team showed. Callaway collected 10 kills and nine digs, Natalia Pradhan posted five kills, Halley had eight digs and Lucy Liu posted a pair of aces.
Flintridge Prep (8-3 overall, 1-2 in league) will visit Westridge School in a league matchup on Thursday, Sept. 8, at 5:30 p.m.


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