Whether he sat on the bench or paced while cradling his clipboard, Flintridge Prep girls' volleyball Coach Sean Beattie sensed something unusual.
While piling up victories throughout the first several weeks of the season, Beattie watched the Rebels use a recipe of crisp passing and a tenacious defense to smother opponents.
That formula disappeared Wednesday afternoon during Flintridge Prep's 25-13, 25-18, 25-18 Prep League home loss against rival Pasadena Poly.
"It was strange and we came out flat," said Beattie, whose team dropped to 7-4 and 1-2 in league. "The things we do best are defense, passing and serving, and today we couldn't pass the ball to save our lives.
"At the end of the first two games, we had eight positive passes. When our passing is down, everything goes downhill."
As a result, Flintridge Prep never get on track against a Pasadena Poly squad that improved to 7-0 and 3-0 in league and is ranked third in the latest CIF Southern Section Division 3-AA poll behind league foe Chadwick and Santa Ynez.