Talented Spartans Seek First League Championship Since 2012

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Photo courtesy Eric Danielson
La Cañada has a depth it has not had in years, making the Spartans one of the top contenders for the Rio Hondo League title.

In his third year at the helm of the La Cañada High School varsity girls’ volleyball program, head coach Chris Sullivan has the kind of team any coach would envision.
“We returned 11 players from last year’s team, so that really helps,” said Sullivan. “The experience they gained last year was definitely valuable. We have a lot of depth, and I’m really excited about this season. We’ve had some great wins so far. We’re already leaps and bounds better than when we started in the summer.”
Sullivan returns nearly every player and has the perfect balance of experience and young talent with a roster that includes five seniors, three juniors, six sophomores and two freshmen.
The best part of about this team is that players are interchangeable. Sullivan has never had this kind of depth before, and he said he was confident in playing anyone on the roster.
“We have complete faith in everyone,” Sullivan said. “We have a really good senior class, but I’m also starting two sophomores at the moment. I had one freshman come out during a set and half and go for 11 kills. I just kept her in there. That’s what’s so different this year. We can just people in anytime.”
The Spartans have won two consecutive matches, most recently defeating Los Angeles Immaculate Heart in four sets, to improve to 4-3 on the season. Two of the three losses were against volleyball programs competing two divisions above the Spartans’ CIF Southern Section placement.
La Cañada will open Rio Hondo League play against South Pasadena on Sept. 21, and is expected to be one of the top contenders for the crown this season with a senior-laden squad. The Spartans have not won a league title since 2012.
“Our senior class has been on varsity for years, and they really keep the team together,” said Sullivan, who named Hailey Belcher, Elizabeth Gannon, Sophia Bang and Chloe Kerstein as team captains. “They organize team bonding events all by themselves. They really want the team to be extremely close.”
The annual Dig for the Cure match will be played against local rival Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy on Oct. 7.
La Cañada will return to action on Sept. 12 to take on Sun Valley Village Christian at home.

Photo courtesy Eric Danielson
Senior captain Hailey Belcher (1) and sophomore Claire Kevorkian (4) block a shot from the opposition. La Cañada boasts a roster that includes a balance of young talent and experience.

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