By Rick Assad
Special to MyBurbank
Kyle Roach isn’t about to rock the boat, especially after what the Burbank High girls’ volleyball team accomplished last season.
Under Sarah Brown, the Bulldogs placed second in the Pacific League behind Arcadia with an 11-3 record, finished 15-8 overall, and advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2-A playoffs.
“I admire what [Coach] Sarah has done,” said Roach, the first-year Burbank coach who inherits nine seniors. “I’m going to try and build on what she’s already done, and add my own style.”
Roach said the Apaches are a slight favorite, but Burbank, Burroughs and Crescenta Valley aren’t too far behind.
“I think we have a real chance to win the league,” Roach said. “We had a great summer. We won the Burbank [High] Summer League, the Van Nuys [High] Summer League, and tied for first with Valencia in the Pierce [Junior College] League.”
Burbank’s season begins at home versus Golden Valley on September 11, while league action commences at Muir on September 18.
“We do have our whole starting lineup back and they work really well together,” Roach said. “They’re on the same page every play and they work as a team. We have a lot of senior leadership and many have playing experience.”
One of the leaders is senior setter Sara Treadway, a three-year varsity starter. Treadway, a tri-captain, is the school’s all-time leader in assists for a season with 600 and career with 925.
“Sara’s a great kid and a hard worker,” Roach said. “She’s definitely one of our floor leaders.”
Senior middle blocker Allison Tiegs is Burbank’s tallest player at 5-foot-11, and will be asked to deliver this season.
“Allison led the team with 222 kills, which is a school record,” said Roach of Tiegs, who was also selected first-team all-league.
Senior libero Lily Winn will be counted upon heavily if the Bulldogs are to challenge for the league title.
“She’s a captain and set the school record with 317 digs,” Roach said. “Lily plays on the softball team and is very athletic. She needs to be on the court for us.”
Another captain, senior outside hitter Rose Cowart stands 5-foot-7, which isn’t especially tall, and is a three-year varsity player.
“Rose is under-sized for the position she plays, but is still effective,” Roach said. “She’s very athletic which also helps her.”
This will be senior outside hitter Denise Daniel’s third season on the varsity, and if everything falls into place, it could be her most productive.
“Denise has a high volleyball IQ, and she’s played club,” Roach said. “She’s one of our main hitters and was third last year with 144 kills.”
In Burbank’s defensive scheme, senior middle blocker Nicole Mailhot is essential. “She’s our best blocker,” Roach said, “and one of our hardest workers at the net. Her blocks start the defense.”
When it comes to knowing the nuances of volleyball, senior outside hitter Ashlyn Edwards is at the top of the list.
“She has a very high volleyball IQ and is one of the best all-around players on the team,” Roach said. “You can put her in any position on the floor and she’s going to do well.”
Lauren Brenn is a senior opposite hitter and extremely versatile. “Lauren’s also one of the best all-around players,” Roach said. “She’s adds energy and hustle during practice.”
Senior libero Lucia Estrada does the little things that draws attention from the opposing bench. “Lucia is one of the best diggers and main defenders we have,” Roach said, “and she gets notice from the other coach. She’s a great kid and a hard worker.”
Junior outside hitter Cailey Stevenson isn’t tall, but is an explosive jumper. “Cailey can jump really high and works hard,” said Roach of Stevenson, a member of the softball team.
Hailey Heath is a sophomore opposite hitter who played soccer for the Bulldogs, and is expected to have an impact over many seasons.
“Hailey’s another fine athlete and she’s going to be one of the leaders over the next couple of years,” Roach said.
Sophomore middle blocker Nicole Winters lacks playing time, but the future appears bright. “Nicole is a quick learner and everything that I’ve seen from her has been impressive,” Roach said.
Freshman Melissa Daniel is a backup setter. “She plays club and is learning everything that she can,” Roach said.
Burbank won the Pacific League title in 2012. Will 2014 be another championship year for the Lady Bulldogs? Only time will tell but Roach would love to make his first year at the helm a special one.