Burbank Boys Volleyball Unable To Find Stride

The Bulldogs lose the first two sets, but then grab the next two before falling in the fifth.

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A slow start by Burbank didn't help in its loss to San Marino. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

By Rick Assad

Dropping the first two sets made it extremely difficult on the Burbank High boys’ volleyball team.

Still, the Bulldogs stormed back and captured the next two games on Tuesday afternoon before losing in the fifth set to visiting San Marino.

The Titans prevailed by scores of 25-19, 25-16, 17-25, 21-25, 15-11 in the nonleague match.

The Bulldogs never led in the fifth set, but were tied four times at 3-3, 9-9, 10-10 and 11-11 on junior outside hitter Taiyo Nakao’s kill.

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This would be as close as Burbank would get as the Titans (2-1) scored the next four points for the set and match.

A service ace from Burbank junior libero Ian Villaflor cut San Marino’s lead to 3-2 and then 5-4 on a winner from junior middle blocker Austin Kim.

Burbank (0-3) drew within 9-8 on a blast from Nakao and 10-9 on Villaflor’s spike.

Burbank junior libero Ian Villaflor played well despite his team falling short against San Marino. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

Early in the third set it was knotted at 1-1, 2-2 and 3-3 before San Marino forged ahead 10-7 on Devan Jue’s kill.

Just before this took place, an ace from Nakao leveled it at 7-7.

It was tied at 10-10, 11-11, 12-12 and 14-14 ahead of the Bulldogs racing ahead 18-14 on sophomore setter Ryan Viyar’s service ace.

Burbank then found some strength and rallied, outscoring San Marino 4-2 and took control 22-16 on a kill from Viyar.

The set was claimed by the Bulldogs on junior middle blocker Akash Kodavati’s push as the Titans held a two games to one edge.

At this juncture, the fans started to get loud, and the team felt the support. The momentum had swung slightly.

Like the third frame, the match was tied at 1-1, 2-2, 5-5, 6-6 and 8-8 in the fourth frame before the Titans led 13-11 on a slam from Nathan Chan.

San Marino’s lead swelled to 15-12 on Chan’s tapper, but the Bulldogs buckled down and evened it at 17-17 on senior Justin Marmeto’s service ace.

Burbank played well over the next few points as it took control 20-18 on a push from Kodavati.

Junior outside hitter Noah Lintag’s service winner made it 22-18 in favor of the Bulldogs and Nakao’s spike increased Burbank’s margin to 23-19.

A few points later, a service ace by Viyar evened the match at two games apiece as the Bulldogs were in business and feeling strong.

The initial game began with the Bulldogs racing out to a 4-2 advantage on a bomb from Nakao.

The Bulldogs played much better in the third and fourth sets and evened the match against the Titans. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

Kim’s block handed Burbank a 5-2 lead, but the Titans then outscored the Bulldogs 8-3 and forged in front 10-8.

Nakao’s winner evened it at 11-11, but once again San Marino found a scoring spurt, this time 6-3 as Luca Maggio’s kill gave the Titans a 17-14 cushion.

The set was deadlocked at 17-17 when Chan’s hit found the net.

In short order, San Marino pulled in front 23-18 after collecting four consecutive points.

The Titans sealed the first game after scoring the last two points that included Casey Chan’s rocket that made it 24-19.

Down one set, the Bulldogs bolted to a 4-2 lead in the second game on Villaflor’s ace. The Titans then outscored the hosts 7-2 and took a 9-6 lead on Chan’s tapper.

Burbank trimmed the lead to 14-9 on Chan’s net serve, but San Marino marched in front 17-10, but the Bulldogs then drew within 17-11 on Viyar’s block.

Nakao’s winner sliced San Marino’s cushion to 20-13, but San Marino’s Hayden Chi’s kill made it 23-15.

San Marino then captured two of the next three points and moved ahead two games to none.