They’re determined, powerful and mostly fearless as they prepare for South Pasadena High’s most important volleyball match in the school’s 113 year old history.
It marks a first as the Tigers’ prepare to play for the CIF-Division III championship at 1:30 p.m. against Lowell High School at Santiago Canyon College in Orange.
Setting up the final game of the year, the South Pasadena girls’ team came away with a 3-1 victory over Palm Desert in front of a packed home crowd inside the Tigers’ gym Tuesday night in the CIF Southern Regional Championship. Lowell enters the state finals after knocking off Sacred Heart Prep in the CIF Northern Regional Championship.
South Pasadena dispatched of Palm Desert winning easily 25-10 in the first set, 25-18 in the second, dropping the third 25-16, then coming back for a narrow 25-23 victory in the final set.
“I feel really great about my team,” said South Pasadena High coach Ivy Chew after the victory. “The team dynamic is great. Our main goal coming out of last season was to build a family and they seem to have each other’s back. We take every game as an experience for us and keep pushing it from there.”
She says her team faced many obstacles throughout the 2019 campaign and have prevailed throughout as the Tigers now prepare for their biggest match ever – a state championship on the line against Lowell.
Saturday’s showdown will feature the Tigers and their 37-7 overall record, including a 10-0 perfect mark in Rio Hondo League mark, against Lowell from San Francisco that comes into the title match with 27-8 overall record, including 14-0 in the Academic Athletic Association.
“No one expected us to get this win, honestly I feel like we proved everyone wrong and it’s really satisfying to win,” said the Tigers Carrie Fleming after the big triumph over Palm Desert. “We knew what we needed to do and push points as fast as possible.”
Teammate Lola Foord added: “This is everything we’ve been working for and it feels great. At first we didn’t think we were going to get that far in state but we were moved down to Division III so that opened a door of possibilities and we’re here now. It’s awesome.”
Confidence is high among the Tigers as they get set to take on another difficult opponent in Lowell. “I feel like we only play really well when we’re trusting each other and playing very cohesively,” explained Foord. “That was exemplified on the court today. I think that’s the reason we won.”
SPHS Athletic Director Anthony Chan noted: “I’m still in amazement in joy for our girls, the coaches, our school and community. This is the fire opportunity in our history to play for a CIF state title. Thank you to the coaches and ladies who continue to impress me with their attitude, work ethic, and team spirit. It is because of them that this position is so special. I am honored to serve them, the school, and this community.”
South Pasadena High players contributing to the Tigers’ historic run toward a state crown include Lindsey Hirano, Sydney Abundo, Erin Hughes, Alyssa Sokolo, Lexi Schroeder, Mikaela Noonan, Ava Dorny, Lola Foord, Abby Garner, Katharine Florence, Kennedy Taylor, Ashley Fox. Sofia Reyes and Carrie Fleming.
“I remember when the volleyball program started when I was a student,” said South Pasadena High Principal Janet Anderson, a graduate of the school, who witnessed the Tigers’ win over Palm Desert. “To see it grow into such a competitive program, and to see the enthusiasm this team inspired, has been fantastic. These players have worked hard and demonstrated unselfish teamwork. Now, we’re vying for a state championship in our division. Go Tigers!”
South Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Geoff Yantz witnessed the contest, saying: “It was inspiring to see the quality of play and, more importantly, the chemistry between the players playing as a team and as a unit, in sync with each other. They seemed to anticipate each other’s moves and plays before they happened. So, it was a wonderful evening.”