On Monday, San Marino head volleyball Coach Hugo Ayala challenged the Lady Titans.
“I told them that at this point in the season, we find ourselves in a role where we can finish strong and also play spoiler,” said Ayala. “This is the position we have put ourselves in.”
The Lady Titans were listening. Powered by 16 kills apiece from sophomore Keile Barra and sophomore Nicole Doerges, San Marino upset South Pasadena on Tuesday afternoon 25-19, 20-25, 25-18 and 25-18 to improve to 3-5 in Rio Hondo League play and 7-10 overall.
Sophomore Morgan Wong served up 6 aces while Barra (5) and Doerges (4) were also strong from the line. Senior Kate Dugally added 7 kills. Barra also recorded 22 digs and was aided defensively by sophomore Hanna Wang, who pitched in with 10.
Senior Melanie Leung was switched to setter for the game and responded with 31 assists.
“This is a lineup we talked about using for a long time,” Ayala said. “We had a lot of fun today.”
“It was really nice to beat them this year and in my final game against South Pas,” said Dugally.
“Beating South Pas is always a good feeling, especially on their home court,” said Leung. “But the bigger picture is how we came together as a team and showed what Titan volleyball is all about. Our team is feisty and I love each one of my teammates for that.”
Recently, San Marino absorbed 3 consecutive losses to Monrovia, Temple City and La Cañada and find themselves on the outside looking in as playoff season arrives.
A loss to Monrovia on Oct. 6 was particularly painful as the Lady Titans won the first 2 sets before dropping a 13-25, 23-25, 25-17, 25-19 and 19-17 decision to the 1st place Wildcats.
Doerges led the attack with 19 kills, followed by Barra, who added 15. Barra recorded a team-high 31 digs, 2 more than senior Leung, but the Lady Titans couldn’t hold onto the early advantage.
Temple City totally turned the tables on the Lady Titans, who swept their 1st meeting. Last week, the Rams defeated San Marino by scores of 25-16, 25-15 and 25-17. Barra again led the way with 15 kills, 8 digs and 2 aces.
La Cañada, the Lady Titans’ long-time nemesis, visited Dingus Memorial Fieldhouse last Thursday and came away with a 26-24, 23-25, 25-22, 25-21 win.
Barra recorded 19 kills and 15 digs, followed by Dugally with 8 kills and 2 aces. Wang racked up 45 assists and 9 digs for the match.
Leung was clutch defensively with 29 digs but San Marino dropped to 2-5 in Rio Hondo League play and 6-10 overall.
Ayala praised Barra for her competitive nature and consistent performance.
“There is nobody in the gym who wants to win as much as Keila,” said Ayala. “She has been great all season. She never seems to have a bad set, let alone a bad match. She always finds a way to help the team.”
The Lady Titans can embrace that spoiler role on Monday, Oct. 24 when they visit league leading Monrovia at 4:45 p.m.