La Salle Volleyball Adjusts To Iwatani Era, Splits Back-To-Back Games
By Aaron Valdez
After starting the season 2-2, the La Salle girls’ volleyball team has won five out of their last six as the Lancers brushed aside Westridge 3-0 on Monday but fell short to Sierra Canyon 3-0 on Tuesday.
Going into the season, many questions were surrounding the team as to how the team would perform without longtime and touted Head Coach Tiare Tuitama, who stepped down earlier this year. However, new Head Coach Shari Iwatani has filled in quite nicely, implementing a new culture while leading the Lancers to a 7-2 record.
“Obviously, (Tuitama) left a big legacy behind to follow, but I’ve definitely got the girls to buy in and understand what I’m trying run and what I’m trying to do,” Iwatani said. “Once they bought in, it was really easy for them to work hard and work on the things that we needed to do.”
With Monday’s win over Westridge, it seemed La Salle had been responding well to Iwatani’s new teachings.
The Lancers set the tone early by controlling the pace of the game and jumping out to early leads. Chloe Howell’s team-high 13 kills helped lead La Salle to a 25-17 win in the first and a 25-15 win in the second.
Defensively, Crystal and Vanessa Ramirez worked tirelessly to keep plays alive as the duo combined for 26 kills.
The final set was a slightly different story than the first two. Westridge was in command half way through and even opened up an eight-point lead on the Lancers. However, La Salle showed tons of grit as it quickly erased the deficit to take the third set 25-20.
In the second leg of their back-to-back on Tuesday, the Lancers did not enjoy the same success as they did against Westridge. Both the fatigue and Sierra Canyon proved to be too much to overcome as La Salle dropped to a 7-3 record.
The Lancers will open Del Rey League action on Thursday with a match against Viewpoint (4-1 overall, 1-0 league).