First published in the Nov. 4 print issue of the Pasadena Outlook.
The La Salle College Preparatory varsity girls’ volleyball team’s CIF-SS playoff run ended in the semifinals on Saturday as host Aliso Niguel High beat the Lancers in five sets, 25-21, 15-25, 25-22, 19-25, 12-15 in Aliso Viejo.
Before the loss, La Salle had won 11 consecutive matches and finished the regular season first in the Del Rey League with a perfect 8-0 record (25-5 overall).
Dani Thomas-Nathan had a terrific offensive game with a team-high 29 kills. She also added nine digs and one assist. Meanwhile, teammate Ashley Li had 25 kills with four digs, two aces, one assist and one assisted block.
Mikayla Hsieh recorded 50 assists along with eight digs, one solo block and one assisted block.
Avery Ward added seven kills and two solo blocks, while teammate Hailey Patino recorded four digs, two aces and two assists. While serving, Ava Alvarado had a team-high three aces. Isabella Marrero with one ace and one dig, Holly Rettig contributed one block, two assisted blocks and one kill, and Carhin Guillen registered one kill.
Before the Lancers were eliminated from CIF contention, they defeated visiting Beckman High of Irvine in four sets, 25-18, 19-25, 25-21, 25-22, in the CIF quarterfinals.
“It’s awesome. It’s kind of bittersweet because in 2019, it should have been us moving into the finals,” said La Salle head coach Shari Iwatani after defeating Beckman. “There’s a lot of kids of this team that were part of that 2019 team, so I think this is something special for them.”
After dropping the second set, La Salle bounced back to win the next two behind Thomas-Nathan, who recorded a team-high 22 kills, four aces and five digs.
“Coming to high school [from club is] a lot different and I do have to step up, and I haven’t had to do that in a really long time,” said Thomas-Nathan. “I have to do it for my team.”
Hsieh had 41 assists in addition to her three aces, one dig and one kill.
Li also had a solid offensive performance with 15 kills, four aces and one assist. She also added one dig, one solo block and one assisted block on defense.
“When [Li] does get ahold of the ball, it’s just like Dani — equally as powerful,” said Iwatani.
Ward contributed 10 kills, while Alvarado had one kill, two aces and seven digs.
Gullien recorded one assist, one solo block and one assisted block, while Patino added three assists, one ace and two digs. Rettig recorded one kill and one block while Marrero had two digs.
The Lancers will this Sunday learn its fate concerning a probable bid in the state playoffs, which will open on Tuesday, Nov. 9.