By Rick Assad
When the Burbank High girls’ volleyball team took the floor for a Pacific League match with visiting Pasadena on Tuesday afternoon, it was anything but a walk in the park.
Breaking out of the gate, Burbank claimed in the first two sets before Pasadena took the next two which meant that a fifth game would decide the winner.
Slowly but surely, Burbank seized control and grabbed the last set and walked off with a 25-13, 25-20, 18-25, 19-25, 15-8 triumph.
In the decider, Burbank (3-1 and 1-0 in league) rattled off the first five points with senior outside hitter Gabby Damroze accounting for three kills that made it 1-0, 4-0 and 5-0.
Damroze’s winner made it 6-1 and forced Pasadena (4-4 and 0-1 in league) to ask for a time out. Damroze wasn’t done as she added a tapper for a 7-2 advantage.
When junior defensive specialist Jolene Ngo tossed in an ace to make it 8-2 and sophomore middle blocker Tara Rauenswinder delivered a stuff, Burbank pulled ahead 9-6.
A kill from senior opposite hitter Madison Clevenger pushed the lead to 10-7 and a winner from junior outside hitter Jazmine Cobb stretched the margin to 11-7.
“Jazmine had a great match and really started implementing a lot of what she’s learned at practice,” Burbank coach Patrick Tyler said of Cobb, who finished with 14 kills.
Clevenger’s service ace saw Burbank take command 13-7 and Clevenger’s kill won the set and the match.
“That final set we started off with that 5-0 run and it helped us get to feel a little more comfortable,” Tyler said. “The girls really pulled through. I’m excited to see what they can do in league.”
In the initial set, Burbank sprinted to an 8-2 lead as Pasadena called for a time out.
In the run, Damroze added a kill to make it 2-2, Clevenger tacked on a winner for a 3-2 cushion and senior libero Madison Gomez (25 digs with three aces) contributed back-to-back service aces for a 5-2 advantage.
When sophomore middle blocker Astoria Torres chipped in a smash it became 9-4 and a Torres block made it 13-6.
Junior middle blocker Quinn Cramer’s spike saw Burbank pull in front 17-10. Damroze’s kill made it 19-10.
Clevenger’s winner gave the home team a 20-11 lead and consecutive aces from senior setter Arpi Hakoop extended the lead to 23-11.
“Arpi had her strongest set of the season in the first set,” Tyler said of one of the floor leaders who had 28 assists and three service aces.
Burbank and Pasadena then divided the next two points which included the set-clincher.
With a one-set lead, Burbank made it two to none as it led 5-2 on an ace from junior setter Alyssa Ponsones.
A push from Cobb made it 10-8 and a kill from Cramer extended the margin to 13-11.
Hakoop’s service winner put Burbank in front 15-13 and two straight aces from Clevenger made it 20-17.
Clevenger’s tapper handed Burbank a 22-17 lead and Cramer’s spike made it 24-19. The winning point came on a kill from Damroze.
“Our first two sets were a bit more rhythmic. We served and passed well,” Tyler said of the two-game lead.
Pasadena jumped ahead 5-0 in the third set and led 8-1 on an ace from Sinam Minasian.
Burbank evened it at 13-13 on a hit from Torres and led 15-13 on a push from Torres as Pasadena requested a stoppage in time.
A spike from Olivia Hodges gave the visitors a 20-16 edge and an ace from Minasian saw the advantage swell to 23-17 as Burbank asked for time.
Pasadena collected two more points including Gomez’s serve that sailed out of bounds which garnered the set to the visitors.
The fourth game began with Pasadena bolting to a 4-1 lead on an ace from Sarah Vance.
A spike from Pasadena’s Naomi Moore’s leveled it at 6-6 and Vance’s kill tied it at 12-12.
Minasian’s service winner handed Pasadena a 20-16 cushion as Burbank called time out.
Moore’s kill extended the lead to 23-16 and in short order, Moore’s bullet would even the match at two sets apiece.
“Pasadena is a good team and they definitely are coached well,” Tyler said of the rally. “They made some serious adjustments that we struggled to adapt to. They made defensive switches and we struggled in the mid sets. Pasadena also started hitting well.”