“It’s early in the season still and we’re getting the kinks out,” Flintridge Prep Coach Sean Beattie said. “St. Francis is no slouch — they’re Division I and they play some big schools.
“They played hard and I thought we really had to focus, especially in that fifth game. We came out for [the fifth game] on fire.”
Prep jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the deciding game, which was forced by a 4-1 St. Francis run to end the fourth game.
The Golden Knights battled back to come within one point in the fifth game, at 5-4, but then saw the Rebels begin to pull away.
Senior outside hitter Dylan Walker, who finished with nine kills, 11 digs and four aces, got a 5-0 Prep run rolling with a kill for a sideout followed by an ace.
Rebels junior Gavin Thomson notched two of his match-high 11 kills down the stretch, including one that set up match point at 14-8.
“It was really good to get our first win,” Thomson said. “We’re a good team and we know it, but we’ve just got to work on our passing.
“Our defense stepped up today — it was a lot better than yesterday. We feel like once we can do that, our offense is good enough to take us the rest of the way.”
St. Francis was led by senior outside hitter Danny Valdez, who had a team-high 10 kills, and Brandon Recker, a senior middle blocker, who led all players with seven blocks.
“We did things today that we haven’t done yet this year, [like] calling the ball and talking,” St. Francis Coach Mark Frazee said. “Against Temple City we really didn’t talk. ...[I told them] to talk amongst ourselves and make things happen and know what’s going on on the floor.”