Burbank Boys Volleyball Falls in Playoff Opener

(Photo by ©Ross A Benson)

Burbank High waited 110 years to host a CIF Southern Section boys’ volleyball playoff match.

The Bulldogs will have to wait at least one more year to win one.

Burbank fell in the first round of the Division 2 playoffs to visiting Warren High of Downey, losing 25-19, 31-33, 27-25, 25-19.

The two teams struggled, combining on 42 serving errors over four sets.

(Photo by ©Ross A Benson)

Burbank (19-11) lost the first set and found itself in trouble a number of times in the second set, before fighting back to win 33-31.

“Sets like those give your team a lot of momentum. We didn’t carry that into the third set as well as we wanted to,” Burbank outside hitter Jonathan Ragheb said. “We played well and then shot ourselves in the foot with those missed serves.”

Ragheb, who hopes to walk on the team at Harvard University, and teammate Rory Rickey, who hopes to walk on at UC San Diego, each finished with 14 kills.

“Most of us came in thinking let’s just play like it is another game. Obviously, everyone was a little excited that we were making history,” said Ragheb, who is Burbank’s valedictorian. “Everyone came in with confidence and a good mindset.”

Coach Karl Rojo acknowledged the match didn’t go as planned but was proud of his players.

(Photo by ©Ross A Benson)

“We accomplished a lot this season.  We had a winning record and were second in the league.  We played good volleyball from the beginning to the end,” Rojo said. “I think we didn’t serve as aggressive as we should have.  They were going in with a soft serve. I told them to serve aggressively from the start.  We just didn’t do a good job of executing that defense against that particular attacker. We picked it up here and there, but they kept attacking that spot.”

Rojo said he liked the position his team was in after the second set.

“I felt pretty good, but not relaxed or complacent. We had to keep applying the pressure,” Rojo said. “I expected the communication to be a little better and a little bit more disciplined in our defense because there were things that we have gone over multiple times in practice.”

The Bulldogs led 23-22 in the third set, only to see the lead evaporate as Warren won 27-25.

(Photo by ©Ross A Benson)


Burbank also got seven kills from Luca Bily and four from Ryan Rickey.

Warren (18-5) was led by Anthony Popoca and George Jimenez. Both had 14 kills each.