HomeSportsSpikers Add Playoff Win To 2018 Dossier

Spikers Add Playoff Win To 2018 Dossier

IT’S MITCHELL!: Sophomore Mitchell Cootauco came up big in the first varsity game of his career. Daryl Chan Photos

Participating in a playoff game was an unfortunately strange notion to San Marino High School’s boys’ varsity volleyball team, but the Titans appeared large and in charge Tuesday evening, casting aside some first-set jitters to dispatch visiting Bishop Amat by final scores of 23-25, 25-12, 25-13 and 25-19 in CIF first round action.

Senior Billy Tsai once again paced the Titan offense with 15 kills as San Marino broke a three-game losing streak while winning its first playoff game in, well, your guess is as good as ours. Last week, the Titans came out on top of a four-way tie for first place and were named Rio Hondo League champions after winning the first tie-breaker—most sets won—to get the top seed. Tuesday, they played like old hands.

After dropping the first set, San Marino fed off the energy of its home crowd and slowly took control of the action. Titan blockers adjusted to Bishop Amat’s attack patterns and libero Brandon Wong was able to position himself in in the Lancer’s hitting lanes.

SKILLED DIGGER: Senior Brendan Wong came up big defensively for the Titans.

“I think it was a great game,” said head Coach Tony Chou. “We really gathered ourselves after losing that first set. I was extremely impressed with our senior leadership who pulled things together. That’s what I hope to see moving forward.”

Senior Michael Shahan added ten kills and classmate Raye Cheng put away seven, while playing solid defense in the back row. Several of Shahan’s rickets were momentum-changers.

Chou praised his senior setter Nate Wang for keeping the Lancers’ defense guessing with his delivery choices.

“Nate played a phenomenal game,” Chou said. “One of his best of the season. He moved the ball around so Bishop Amat couldn’t focus on one or two hitters.”

Sophomore Mitchell Cootauco stepped in for junior middle blocker Eric Fu, whose ankle injury was worse than originally thought and did not play Tuesday. Outside hitter Kai Barra, also a sophomore, added five kills while serving and passing well.

“That was Mitchell’s first varsity game and I was very happy with the way he played,” Chou said. “He was especially strong in blocking and that can be tough at the varsity level. And Kai was also very solid in all facets of the game.”

The Titans traveled to Savanna High School in Anaheim on Thursday evening for a second round contest against the Rebels. Win or lose, the season has been a success. After compiling a combined Rio Hondo League record of 1-15 in the 2016 and 2017 seasons, the Titans finished 5-3 in 2018 and claimed the crown on a tiebreaker, its first championship since 2005. And now a playoff win. And possibly more.


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