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Flintridge Prep volleyball edges La Cañada in five-game thriller

Volleyball: Tyler Weakland comes up clutch in end to push Rebels past neighboring Spartans.

March 22, 2013|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
  • Flintridge Prep's Mike Lii, from left, and Kareem Ismail go up for a block in a match at La Cañada High.
Flintridge Prep's Mike Lii, from left, and Kareem… (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff…)

LA CANADA — If the first game was any indication, the Flintridge Prep and La Cañada High boys' volleyball teams were in for a nailbiter in a nonleague rematch between the cross-town opponents Friday.

The tone set in the first game, which included 10 ties, continued the entire match, as it took five games for the Rebels to ultimately emerge victorious with Prep middle blocker Tyler Weakland scoring the final two points of the game to deliver the 26-24, 23-25, 25-22, 20-25, 15-13 win on La Cañada's homecourt.

PHOTOS: Flintridge Prep vs. La Cañada boys' volleyball

“It was two really good teams going back and forth, every game was a four- or five-point game and that's good, especially for a nonleague game,” Flintridge Prep Coach Sean Beattie said of the match that featured 31 ties. “You want that battle back and forth, it gets you ready for the playoffs.

“They're a really good team. You can't even say the best team won, it was a battle.”

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It appeared Flintridge Prep (11-6) had gained the final edge in a fifth game that had already included eight ties after a Spartans service error and Chadd Cosse block gave Flintridge Prep a 13-11 lead.

La Cañada (9-7) created some doubt and knotted the score back up at 13 on a kill from Mitchell Page (five kills, five blocks) and ace from Jonathan Sullivan, who finished with a match-high 15 kills and also had 15 digs, eight aces and five blocks.

That's when Weakland, who had nine kills and season-high seven blocks in the match, came up big.

“They'd already beaten us this year and we knew they were a really good team and were on their court, but we've been playing pretty well lately and we knew if we stuck together as a team we could pull it out and that's what happened today,” Weakland said.

The senior gave the Rebels match-point, 14-13, with a quick kill. He then sealed the win with a key block that deflected off two La Cañada players before hitting the floor and causing Flintridge Prep's players to erupt in a frenzy and mob Weakland before eventually chanting his name to break the post-game huddle.

“I guess it was a special occasion,” said Beattie, explaining why Weakland got the final cheer. “Our celebration got a little rough, Tyler took a couple of shots.”

The victory avenged a sweep Prep suffered at the hands of the Spartans to open the season, 25-19, 25-18, 25-19.

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