With the coveted fourth seed in the Pacific League standings on the line and playoff implications in play, the Falcons played like it en route to a 25-21, 25-20, 25-18 win over the Nitros at Glendale High School.
The potent offense and high energy proved to be two of the biggest factors against a Glendale squad that did not match its opponent in either aspect.
After the match, Nitros Coach Jennifer Vo said she will not appeal for an at-large bid. The Falcons, however, clinch the fourth seed and earn an automatic playoff bid.
“Since last week, we knew how big this match was going to be,” Falcons Coach Jen Ku Lee said. “We had some bumps along the way, but we knew if we lost, it would be really tough to get into the playoffs. We would have to petition and with the [Crescenta Valley] Tournament, coach [John] Nelson invites Division I schools, so it would be tough.”
The Falcons (10-7, 8-5 in league) will host the tournament over the weekend before ending the season at Arcadia on Tuesday.
Against the Nitros (8-8, 6-7), Crescenta Valley showed poise and scored clutch points in the tightly contested first two games of the match. Walker registered six kills in the first game, including the game-winner, capping off a frame that saw nine tie scores through the first 23 points of the stanza.
A Cassidy Ianello kill broke a 12-12 tie in favor of the Falcons, who would not relinquish the lead.
Ianello finished the match with eight kills — four in the second game, matching Walker. Similarly to the first game, the two squads were in a see-saw battle until the Falcons overcame a five-point deficit, took the lead late and never looked back. This time, a 9-4 run to end the game clinched the victory.
Crescenta Valley used a 10-1 run midway through the third game to separate itself from Glendale and cruise to the sweep. Nanette Grigorian led the Falcons with four kills and an ace in the frame.
“We played together and encouraged each other,” said Crescenta Valley’s Micaela Guarino who complemented well with six kills. “Glendale put up a tough fight, but we came out and wanted it more.”
Glendale’s co-coach shared Guarino’s sentiments.
“CV came out with more fire,” said Vo, who received a combined 14 kills from Serena Snaer and Kirsten Cabarong. “We were inconsistent and didn’t play as well as we’d like. They just wanted it more.”
The Nitros will finish their regular season against rival Hoover next week in what will be Vo’s final match as coach of the team.
Crescenta Valley will look to carry the momentum into its host tournament.
“Thank God we responded well today, but hats off to Glendale, they’re always good competition,” Lee said. “Hopefully, we can use this win to go into the tournament and scare some teams.”