Fortune smiled on the La Salle High boys’ volleyball team as it blitzed past Flintridge Prep this past Saturday, and took home the championship trophy of the Providence Tournament.
There are always factors why a team wins or loses, but the fact that Flintridge Prep was without the services of senior middle blocker Kareem Ismail was significant because he establishes the tone on offense and defense, and his absence was one reason why the Rebels couldn’t keep the Lancers at bay as La Salle swept three games by the count of 25-17, 25-23 and 26-24.
La Salle’s big hitters were Will Pyburn, Kevin Walsh and Ben Dalgarn, and were set up by Kelby Lanzarotta and Jake Bragg, and this combination was something the Rebels couldn’t handle and it changed the tide in favor of the Lancers at critical moments.
After scoring the initial point of the first game, the Rebels (3-4) trailed 13-11, but La Salle (5-1) then went on an 8-2 sprint before Flintridge Prep added two points and trailed 21-13.
The Rebels came out in the second game and tallied seven of the first 10 points, and even led 19-13 before stumbling as the Lancers went on a 12-4 kick to close out the game.
Six ties were part of the third game plot with the teams knotted at 23-23 and 24-24, before the Lancers scored the final two points.
In Friday’s three pool-play matches, Flintridge Prep was nearly flawless as host Providence managed to stay close in the first game before being outclassed in the second by scores of 25-20 and 25-5, which made possible the title clash with La Salle.
It clearly mattered that Flintridge Prep had its full compliment of talent in those matches because Rebel basketball players seniors Chadd Cosse, Harrison Jung, Tyler Weakland and Ismail were on the court together as their hoop season ended on Wednesday after losing in the opening-round of the Division V State Basketball Championships.
The Pioneers (1-4) were looking to right their ship, and they played well in the first game until falling behind 17-14 and 22-19.
It was a totally different matter in the second game as Flintridge Prep scored the first seven points and then coasted to the victory.
Ismail was put to excellent use against the Pioneers as he finished with a team-high nine winners and five blocks.
The Rebels had too much talent for Campbell Hall, which fell 13-25, 25-22, 15-9 and Flintridge Prep also ripped through St. Genevieve by the scores of 25-13 and 25-15.