“With where the two teams are seeded, that’s unusual to be playing this early in the playoffs,” Flintridge Prep Coach Sean Beattie said. “It’s going to be a battle.
“They’ve moved some players around, just like we have. We don’t have any like opponents, so you go in a little blind. Sometimes that’s better. It’s up to us now.”
The Rebels, who shared the Prep League title with Pasadena Poly and Chadwick, struggled at times during the early stages of their match against St. Anthony.
For example, St. Anthony raced out to a 10-2 lead before the Rebels stormed back to win the second game and complete the sweep.
“We are going to need more energy from the beginning,” Rebels outside hitter Edmund Chow said. “When we play our game, we can play with anybody.
“We need to come out with a better start.”
Flintridge Prep received nine kills from Chow, a senior, and five from junior middle blocker Kenyatta Smith. Setter Kieran Mulroy chipped in with 28 assists.
Sage Hill, which placed second in the Academy League behind second-seeded St. Margaret’s, is led by senior setter Jesse Xiao, junior outside hitter Mattias Russo-Larsson and freshman opposite hitter Kent Kawaguchi.
Fifth-year Sage Hill Coach Dan Thomassen said the Lightning battled through some bouts of inconsistency during their match against West Valley Christian.
“Once we settled down, we had a plan that we executed to help us win,” Thomassen said. “We know that you have to go out there and play some good teams if you want to make a deep playoff run.
“It’s unusual to have a matchup like this one early in the playoffs, but there are two ways to look at it. You can say it’s a tough break or you can look at it as a challenge. If you can win on the road against a good team like that, then it can be a confidence booster.”