The South Pas High varsity volleyball team advanced to the semifinals of the Division 4 CIF Southern Section playoff tournament for the first time in the school’s history after a 3-2 win at La Serna on Wednesday night.
The Tigers won the first set 25-19, but lost the next two sets, 20-25 and 23-25. They were one set away from elimination when they won the fourth set 25-17 and brought the match to a 2-2 tie.
The fifth set brought all the drama — South Pas was one point away from a loss, 24-23 — but the Tigers managed to tie it up at 24, and then were able to pull off the 26-24 set win and take the match.
The team finished the regular season with a 30-6 overall record and a 10-0 league record to secure the No. 1 spot in the Rio Hondo League.
The Tigers began their playoff run on Oct. 24, hosting Torrance in the first round and winning in straight sets — 25-18, 25-23, 25-17.
Head coach Ivy Chew said the team executed very well against Torrance despite a few errors, and was able to keep Torrance from gaining momentum.
The Tigers then hosted Royal last Saturday and won three sets to one — 25-16, 25-16, 19-25, 25-22.
“When they played against Royal High School — it was the same thing [as against Torrance], but I thought this game was a lot better executed. They really played in the system and played really well with each other,” Chew said.
“Even though they lost one set, they came back even stronger and figured out what they needed to do against the team on the fourth set and stopped [Royal] from scoring to close out the game.’’
Chew said the Tigers prepared for the quarterfinals game at La Serna like it was a game in a neutral setting, while junior Lola Foord said the team is pretty comfortable going to other team’s courts because they try to fill that void themselves.
“We have a great home crowd that comes and supports us, but I’m also really confident in our team when we’re playing away, just because we’re our own cheerleaders and we cheer each other on and hype each other up,” Foord said.
It already was the first time the volleyball team has reached the quarterfinals in school history, so it’s looking to keep up the firsts.
South Pas will next play at Norco on Saturday night at 6 p.m. Norco beat Calabasas on Thursday to improve to 21-1 on the season. Norco is also unbeaten at home.
But Tiger junior Lindsey Hirano said her team will be ready for the challenge — and the chance to play for a title.
“This is a really big moment for us,” she said.