LA CANADA - The members of the La Cañada High girls’ volleyball team knew of the Spartans’ storied history entering this season.
La Cañada had won 10 straight league titles, including 68 consecutive wins in league and had been dominant along the way.
The Spartans added a league victory this season to make it 69 consecutive wins, 59 of which came by a virtue of a sweep and only one of which went to five games.
They knew adding another win Tuesday would be difficult against a tough South Pasadena squad.
The Tigers ended the Spartans’ incredible run with a 22-25, 25-15, 25-17, 25-16 victory at La Cañada.
Both coaches downplayed the Spartans’ historic run.
“Streaks are not a big thing,” La Cañada Coach Brock Turner said. “I guess we’ll start a new streak on Thursday.”
Added South Pasadena Coach Ben Diaz: “I don’t care about history. I just care about winning. History is history.”
The Spartans’ first win in the streak was on Oct. 11, five days after South Pasadena defeated La Cañada, 25-23, 22-25, 27-25, 25-23 at home.
During their run, La Cañada had a remarkable run of 36 straight matches that it won by 3-0 scores. Only South Pasadena pushed the Spartans to five games in 2012.
The Spartans (4-11, 1-1 in league) pushed a strong Tigers squad (12-1, 2-0) in the first game.
After falling behind, 15-7, the Spartans put together a furious rally by scoring 18 of the final 25 points in the game, including having two unanswered scoring runs of three points and another four- and five-point spurt.
“We talked about keeping up the communication,” said Spartans setter Leigh Sclafani, who finished with 32 assists and two aces. “That was our prime.
“But we stopped talking and that’s what got us in the rout.”
The rout was a 13-0 run by the Tigers in the beginning of the second game that allowed South Pasadena to cruise to a win.
Communication issues and errors hurt the Spartans in the final two games, as they combined to commit 25 unforced errors in those games.
“That’s definitely a big problem,” Sclafani said. “We’re learning not to make mistakes.”
Sclafani received help from teammates Taylor Page (17 kills) and Jenna Gray (14 kills), but they couldn’t overcome their errors and the performance of South Pasadena’s Claire Kieffer-Wright (19 kills), Sophia Hathaway (12 kills) and Molly Feldmeth (37 assists).
“We’re not consistent, that’s our big problem,” Turner said. “That’s what happens when you graduate 85% of your offense from the previous year. But we haven’t given up on winning league.”
The last time South Pasadena defeated La Cañada, the Spartans responded with a 3-0 win in the rematch, as they continued their streak of league titles.
The Spartans will get their rematch against South Pasadena on Oct. 24.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun