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Home / Kate Kutzer

Kutzer, Feldmeth send South Pasadena to the Second Round

Senior Madison Hirano (orange) leads the Tigers in a pre-match huddle.

 

Story and Photo
By Christian Romo

Though they lost their match against the Panthers in September, the Tigers found a missing piece for the postseason rematch. In senior Kate Kutzer (10), the Tigers returned a vocal leader and a secret weapon for the CIF playoffs.

Hosting the first round of the playoffs, the South Pasadena Tigers beat the visiting Polytechnic Panthers three sets to one (23-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-18) Tuesday night in South Pasadena. Kutzer shined with seventeen kills and four blocks in only her fourth match of the season, and her first since Oct. 20.

“It was a big help to have Kate back,” said senior Molly Feldmeth (6). The southpaw combo of Feldmeth and Kutzer combined for 36 kills, 30 of which coming in the final three sets after a slow start to the match.

“In the first game we were struggling a little bit,” said Kutzer, who added that the offense started working once they got other hitters besides her and Feldmeth involved. “That really helped us because it messed up their block. We were able to spread out our offense,” she said.

After winning the first set, the Panthers inexperience showed as they struggled defending South Pasadena’s attack. “I think they were more consistent than we were,” said Poly coach Steve Beerman. “Overall we’re a young team, and going on the road in their first playoff game will serve them well in the future, but it didn’t work tonight.”

Poly junior Halston Harper (22) led the team with eleven kills, adding three blocks and two digs, while first-years Ella (13) and Zoey Mao (8) each contributed five kills, showing why the Panthers could be Prep League contenders next season. “There were times when we had four freshmen on the floor, and that only speaks well for the future,” said Beerman.

Though the Tigers celebrated their win, South Pasadena’s seniors felt some pain after their final home game. “It’s bittersweet, because this is where I’ve grown up all my life,” said senior Madison Hirano (13), who led all players with ten digs. Feldmeth reacted similarly, saying, “I’m a little bit sad we have to take our game on the road, but it was exciting to go out with all our fans here.”

For the second straight year, the Tigers advanced to the second round, where they will play the favored Sage Hill Lightning on Thursday at 7 P.M. Iwatami’s preparations for the match will be simple: “We need to work on serve and serve receive, and that’s the name of the game,” she said. “Those two things alone win matches at any level.”

Esperanza 3-0 Mayfield

The Mayfield Cubs lost in the first round against the Esperanza Aztecs Tuesday night in Anaheim. With the Cubs, Panthers, and Chadwick Dolphins all losing, the Westridge Tigers stand as the Prep League’s only representation in the postseason.

La Salle 3-0 Ayala

The La Salle Lancers beat the Ayala Bulldogs in the first round of the Division 3 playoffs Tuesday night in Pasadena. They will play the second round against the Foothill Knights.

Templeton 3-1 Maranatha

The Maranatha Minutemen lost to the Templeton Eagles Tuesday night in Templeton. It is their earliest playoff exit since 2014.

Monrovia 3-0 Paramount

The Monrovia Wildcats beat the Paramount Eagles in the first round of the Division 4 playoffs Tuesday night in Monrovia. They will face the Rim of the World Fighting Scots on Thursday night.

Arcadia 3-0 Bishop Amat

The Arcadia Apaches beat the Bishop Amat Lancers in the first round of the Division 4 playoffs Tuesday night in Arcadia. They will play the Torrance Tartars on Thursday night.

Westridge 3-0 Royal

The Westridge Tigers beat the Royal Highlanders in the first round of the Division 4 playoffs Tuesday night in Pasadena. They will play the Los Altos Conquerors on Thursday night.

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