190824 Poly Molten VB Champs 001
Long Beach Poly Volleyball

Volleyball: Long Beach Poly Wins Molten Tournament

A promising girls’ volleyball season in the city started off with a trophy for Long Beach Poly, as the Jackrabbits won the Molden/Tae Kim Lakewood Volleyball Tournament last weekend, defeating La Salle in four sets to cap a perfect run through the tournament.

“We’re still working on some things and it’s rewarding to see the success even while we’re doing that,” said Poly coach Leland McGrath. “We just have to realize it’s all about getting better.”

Saturday was a long day for the Jackrabbits, who had an 8:30 a.m. semifinal and then the championship match at 6 p.m. against La Salle. A few senior starters also had to miss the semifinal match because of an SAT exam that morning. Despite the shuffled lineup the Jackrabbits were able to win the semifinal in five sets against Cypress, despite falling behind 2-0 to start.

“I don’t know the last time we won this tournament, it’s nice to know we can accomplish that at the beginning of the season,” said senior Aniah Cutler, who started on the right side and had her best match as a Jackrabbit in the championship, with 13 kills on .619 hitting.

Poly’s fatigue showed a little in the title tilt, as they easily won the first two sets, 25-17 and 25-11, then took a 19-10 lead in the third set before dropping a bizarre marathon 33-31 frame that saw La Salle go on a 9-1 run to tie it. Poly was able to reset and cruise to a 25-14 win in the fourth set to claim their first trophy of the year.

“It’s good for us, we haven’t won an actual tournament in a little,” said sophomore outside hitter/setter Adonia Faumuina. “There’s a lot more to come this year.”

Faumuina was named the Tournament MVP after a strong run of performances including a team high 14 kills in the championship match.

Kaia Brown had eight kills on .494 hitting against La Salle and sophomore middle blocker Rylie McGinest was outstanding, with seven kills on .778 hitting with no service errors. The Jackrabbits got strong service runs from Grace Abdoo (three aces) and Nicaylah Iamaleava (three aces).

Poly hosts Redondo Union on Thursday in a clash of public school powers.

PHOTOS: Long Beach Poly Girls’ Volleyball at Molten Tournament

VIDEO: Long Beach Poly Wins Molten Tournament

Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.