LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — It was anyone's guess how the first game between the Flintridge Prep or San Marino High girls' volleyball teams would impact both sides moving forward in the match Tuesday.
The Rebels faced game-point and were down by nine before they tied the Titans in the opener with a nine-point run. San Marino settled down to halt the Prep push and take the first game.
"They had a real strong server on the back line and once you give up some points it's easy to give up a lot of points," said San Marino Coach Gordon Anderson of Prep's Daniella Motte, who had four aces in the first game and six in the match. "We never fully lost confidence, though, we always knew it took just one pass to get out of it and when push came to shove we finally did."
Flintridge Prep started shaky in the second game as a result and wound up losing the match in three games, 27-25, 25-15, 25-18, at home.
"I think the problem coming into this game was everyone told us how good they were," Flintridge Prep Coach Sean Beattie said. "I think we kind of came in assuming they were going to be so good they were going to blow us off the court and they really didn't. The fact we were able to come back from 24-15 I think gave us confidence."
The ultimate difference in the match, though, was the Titans setter Amanda Yee, Beattie said.
"She moved the ball around well, kept us on our toes defensively and gave her hitters a lot of one-on-ones and I think that hurt us a lot," Beattie said.
Yee did a bit of everything for San Marino and always seemed to have a play ready when her team needed one. She finished with eight kills, 23 assists, five aces and a block.
The Rebels had their own spark plug in Motte. Down, 24-15, in the first game, she led Prep back into contention. It started with a kill from Motte and by the end of the 9-0 run she'd tallied five points on a kill and four aces to help tie the game at 24.
"If you can have one person that can lift a team like that, all of a sudden now you have momentum, you have energy and that just helps everyone get better and that's the kind of player she is," Beattie said of Motte, who had match highs of 11 kills and six aces.
Yee stopped the run when she tipped a ball over the net and onto Prep's side of the court to give the Titans a one-point lead, 25-24. A San Marino hitting error tied the game back up at 25, but the Titans ended the threat on a Kelly Truong kill and a hitting error from the Rebels.
"We can go into a cruise control mode toward the end [of games] if we think we have it won," Yee said. "That's something we need to work on going into league and future matches."
Prep came out flustered in the second game, as it helped San Marino jump out to a 6-1 lead by committing six errors early in the frame. The Rebels committed a total of 12 errors in the second game, as San Marino never let Prep within two points en route to a 25-15 victory.
The Titans used a 13-2 run to take a 22-11 lead in the third game, which forced a timeout from Beattie. Prep bounced back with a 6-1 run of its own to close within six, but a service error sent momentum back to San Marino's side of the court before Cherie Chow, who had a team-high 10 kills, clinched the match with the game-winning kill.
Prep received 14 digs from Bryn McFadden and 27 assists from Katherine Bogaard, while San Marino's Felita Salim tallied 14 digs.