By Christian Romo
Westridge’s loss against Chadwick last week gave Mayfield an outside shot at a Prep League title heading into their final game against the Tigers. It didn’t take long for Westridge, however, to demonstrate why they deserved a league championship.
Winning a share of their first Prep League title since 2006, the Westridge Tigers (24-5, 10-2 in Prep) swept the visiting Mayfield Cubs (15-12-1, 8-4) (25-23, 25-11, 25-15) in their final regular season match Tuesday night in Pasadena. Though both teams traded points throughout the first set, the Tigers found an offensive rhythm that overpowered the Cubs in a one-sided second set.
Westridge Junior Allison Martinez (1) led the Tigers attack, recording 21 kills (seven in each set), along with three aces, two blocks, and a dig. “We had a lot of momentum going in this game…so we used that to our advantage,” said Martinez.
Junior Makana Meyer (13) got the title-clinching kill, contributing ten kills, five digs, and an ace. “As a team, we played with a lot of heart, a lot of focus, and didn’t let external things get in the way,” said Meyer.
Chadwick’s win against Flintridge Prep means that Westridge will share the league title with the Dolphins, but that doesn’t diminish the accomplishment for the Tigers. “I’ve been waiting for this the past two years,” said Martinez, “and I’m really excited I got to do it with this group of seniors.”
The Cubs improved throughout the season, winning five of their previous six league games, but they couldn’t write the surprise ending to the contentious Prep League season. “I felt like we had low energy, and we had a mentality that the game was already over when the score was 0-0,” said Cubs Senior Andrea Raymundo (14).
Mayfield, who finished the season in a tie for third with Poly, couldn’t build upon Junior Olivia Smith’s (1) front-line stand. Smith led all players with seven blocks, managing Mayfield’s imposing defense as the Cubs head into the playoffs.
“I’m just looking forward to showing up some more teams that people think are better than us,” said Smith, “and just playing our absolute best.” Raymundo was also optimistic about her team’s postseason chances, saying: “I feel like with a little more confidence and trust with each other and in ourselves, we can make it far in the playoffs.”
Westridge enters the Division 4 playoffs with high hopes, though they will contend with such local powers as Monrovia and Arcadia, both league champions with CIF aspirations. Westridge coach Otto Lacayo will emphasize the urgency of the moment with his team heading into the postseason. “We’re gonna discuss championship point. Every point is going to be championship point,” he said.
Mayfield has a tougher task, representing the Prep League with Chadwick in the Division 2 playoffs, presumably with a lower seed than their play at the end of the season would indicate. “We need to add offense,” said Mayfield coach Stephen Bernabe about his team’s playoff preparations, “so we’re going to do a lot of hitting and a lot of servicing.”
The CIF will release the Southern Section playoff matchups on Thursday, with the tournaments beginning next Tuesday, Nov. 1. Local schools Arcadia, Monrovia, Poly, Mayfield, Westridge, La Salle, South Pasadena, and Maranatha have all qualified for the postseason.