La Canada drops five-game thriller to Notre Dame
LA CANADA-FLINTRIDGE - The Notre Dame High girls volleyball team faced some adversity Thursday in an early season showdown with La Canada. But much like last year, the Knights came through when it mattered most and defeated the Spartans 25-14, 25-20, 21-25, 23-25, 15-6.
After letting a three-point lead late in the fourth game slip away to extend the match, visiting Notre Dame jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the fifth and decisive game.
The Knights (5-1) extended the advantage to 13-6 and Katherine Bloch had two kills, including the final point at the net, to end the match.
"We are still learning to be confident in each other," Knights coach Kristin Gorman said. "I gave them as much confidence as I could give them going into game five and they took it and ran with it."
Notre Dame had to regroup after the Spartans rallied from three points down with co-captain Micaela Anderson sidelined with a bad ankle sprain. Anderson collided with a teammate going after a perfectly placed drop shot from Notre Dame's Callan Kinnan.
It didn't look good for La Canada (3-4), but Leigh Sclafani and Lauren Streeter teamed up on a block at the net, Kendall Walbrecht had a kill and Streeter had a kill to pump life into the Spartans.
The momentum was short-lived, however as La Canada failed to overcome losing Anderson on the outside and Notre Dame exposed the weakness.
"I am proud the girls hung in to the end," Spartans coach Brock Turner said. "We got off to such a slow start. The girls may have taken them for granted since they all know each other pretty much. We got caught looking ahead."
La Canada wasn't exactly at full strength, either. Walbrecht was in her first game back from an injury, Katie Pierce isn't expected back until November with a contusion in her leg and Anderson had to leave the game in crunch time.
Notre Dame won all three of its winner-take-all matches last season and didn't get rattled despite the inspired play by La Canada.
"All of us came together," the Rhode Island-bound Kinnan said. "We realized how big it was to finish it out. We knew it was our game to win from the start."
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