By virtue of defeating host Rancho Dominguez Prep 25-10, 25-10, 25-12 in their regular season finale, the Pirates clinched an automatic share of their first league title in the Fall semester since winning five straight league crowns from 2005-2009, winning 60 straight matches without a loss during that span, winning two CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division 1 titles and finishing as runner-up in two more final appearances.
San Pedro also won the Marine League title in the Spring of 2021 during an abbreviated shortened season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"We went through many long, hard fought battles to get to where we are," San Pedro junior libero Kennedy Kordic said on the Pirates' tough schedule outside of league, which molded them into the team they're trying to be. "Having those experiences of playing at different levels of skill and competitiveness really helped shape our view of the game."
Alluding to Kordic's sentiments, San Pedro battled the likes of defending CIF-LACS Open Division champion Palisades Charter along with a pair of local South Bay wars with North Torrance and Peninsula of Rolling Hills Estates, not to mention going through some brutal affairs in both the Pacifica (Garden Grove) and Chatsworth Tournaments just to get prepared for the rigors of the Marine League... a league that was dominated in the prior 2010 decade by Carson.
At one point, Carson was untouchable during a 71-match winning streak that started late in the 2013 season. That same streak was ended by the Pirates' two years ago with a stunning sweep at home on October 3, 2019.
San Pedro (14-10 overall, 9-1 league) put themselves in prime position to stake their claim to the league crown in 2021 with another home sweep of the Colts on September 27, who then returned the favor a week later with a home sweep of their own. For now, the Pirates are alone in first place by a half game ahead, as Carson finishes the regular season next Tuesday against Banning of Wilmington.
A win for Carson clinches a league title share, but a loss to Banning makes it an outright league title for San Pedro.
The match against Rancho Dominguez itself wasn't too much of an issue for San Pedro. After trailing 4-3 in the opening moments of a back and forth first set, the Pirates seized control and never trailed for the remainder of the contest, relying on tough serves and instinctive attacks to pull away from the scrappy Lobos.
It was a delicate, but articulate balance put forth by San Pedro, paced by junior Elaine Turituri with nine kills, six digs and a pair of aces. Sophomore setter Kalia Teofilo (7 kills, 8 assists, 3 aces), senior Ruth Yape (4 kills all in the second set), and junior outside hitter Jamie Roth (five kills) were also vital to the Pirates' victory.
Recent junior varsity call-up Alyssa Estrada provided a significant lift off the bench with four aces, while the libero tag team of Kordic (7 digs) and senior Vanessa Martinez (9 digs and 3 aces) also were crucial.
"This whole season has been a road of emotions," Roth said. "We all have had our ups and downs, but in the end, we all came together as a team, have fun and play ball. I can't wait to see what the future holds for us."
The immediate future will be revealed next week as the Pirates will begin play in the upcoming CIF-LACS Division 1 playoffs, that same division in which the Pirates captured their fourth title in 2018, and was semifinalists in 2019.