“I talked to [the team] about the way we played in Games 1, 2 and 3 because that’s what we need to focus on,” said Rebels Coach Sean Beattie, whose team (16-5) has locked up second place in league at 5-2. “The way we swung in those games, the way we battled back. ...Minus that fourth game, I’m very happy with the way we played. They’re a good team, we’re a good team and we went toe to toe, so there’s no complaints.”
Outside hitters Gavin Thomson and Arthur Kang led the Rebels with 22 and 13 kills, respectively, and setter Steve Morse tallied 37 assists, but Prep was powerless to stop Chadwick’s late surge.
If the final game, in which the Dolphins had seven kills and blew it open with a 12-2 run, was the low point of the Rebels’ night, their comeback late in the third game was one of the highs.
Outside hitter Max McFarland put the Dolphins (15-4-1, 7-0 in league) up, 22-18, in Game 3 with a kill and Chadwick would eventually go up, 23-19.
Prep’s Kenyatta Smith planted one of his six kills to pull the Rebels within 23-22 and McFarland misfired into the net on the next play to tie it up.
From there it was a back-and-forth battle, in which the Rebels fought off game point for Chadwick twice and tied the game at 25 on a kill by Kang before the Dolphins were able to close it out.
The second game was tight, as well, with Prep tying it up at 23 on a kill by Smith. The Rebels also came back from a 16-13 deficit to win the first game.
Still pumped with adrenaline from the thrilling conclusion of Game 3, Prep jumped out to a 6-3 lead early in Game 4, but couldn’t answer a big push from Chadwick.
“Game 4, we lowered our play and they continued to play the way they were,” Beattie said. “That’s a bad trait. You need to be a team that can get down by four or five. We have the offense where we can climb out of that hole, but we decided not to.”
GABRIEL RIZK covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3226 or at email@example.com.