Titans Remain Perfect in League, Off to Best Start in 12 Years

Photo courtesy Eric Danielson
Hanna Wang has been a standout setter for San Marino this season.

The San Marino High School varsity girls’ volleyball team rallied from a two-game deficit and edged defending Rio Hondo League champion La Cañada in five sets, 19-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-23, 15-7, at the LCHS Hotchkin Family Gymnasium last Thursday.
With the win, the Titans (15-5 overall record) took sole possession of first place with a perfect 4-0 record in the Rio Hondo League standings.
“I would attribute it to their work ethic,” said SMHS head coach Joseph Rios. “As far as attendance goes, this is the best attendance I’ve had at practice. These girls are showing up and doing the work. Also, I think it’s just chemistry. Things are a lot better with the girls and they’re a lot friendlier. They stay positive.”
That chemistry has led San Marino volleyball to its best start in 12 years, and the Titans are in a good position to win their first Rio Hondo League championship since 1995.
“That’s the goal,” Rios said. “Going 10-0 is actually our goal. We want to get that perfect record and accomplished win for the San Marino High School program.”

Photo courtesy Eric Danielson
Thayer Talt helped San Marino win its first four Rio Hondo League matches.

An unblemished record in a Rio Hondo League with teams such as La Cañada and South Pasadena is a daunting task, one Rios believed his team could accomplish after the end of the 2017 season. He saw the potential of his program when the Titans handed La Cañada its first and only loss in league last year.

He used that victory to spark his girls, motivating them to win the Pasadena Poly Tournament and their first four league matches.

“I think these girls should have a chip on their shoulder,” Rios said. “They all remember the win, and they remember it as vividly as I do.”
San Marino has won five consecutive matches, and Rios expects his group to only get better as the season continues.
“I don’t feel like we’ve hit our ceiling yet,” he said. “I feel occasionally our girls become stagnant with winning syndrome and don’t have to work because we’re winning. We’re working through it.”
The Titans will host Pasadena Blair in a league match today at 3:30 p.m. They will travel to Monrovia on Tuesday, Oct. 2, for a league contest at 5 p.m.

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