By Jim Riggio
Special to MyBurbank
Burbank High waited 37 years to win another league championship in girls’ volleyball. Now that they have accomplished that feat in 2012, the Bulldogs are hoping to keep the string going this season.
Winning another Pacific League title will not be an easy task, as Burbank lost many of its top players to graduation.
Setter Tyler Brooks, the Pacific League’s Co-Player of the Year in 2012, is gone. Burbank also lost first-team all-league players Stephanie Eskander, Katie Hooper and Sharon Youn.
However, Burbank coach Sarah Brown likes what she sees in her team.
“I am really excited about this team,” said Brown, who begins her seventh year at Burbank. “We may be young, but these girls love volleyball, and are eager to learn and get better. They have been working hard to become a team. We are always striving to win league, and go as far as we can in the playoffs. That will continue to be our focus as the season starts.”
Last season the Bulldogs went 15-2 overall and 13-1 in the Pacific League tying for the league title with Arcadia. The Bulldogs were upset by Cerritos Valley Christian in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division II-A playoffs.
Leading the way among returning players are juniors Whitney Mackey and Denise Daniel. Both have experience as starters. Mackey is a libero and Daniel an outside hitter.
The Bulldogs have three more returning varsity players in junior setter Sara Treadway, junior outside hitter Rose Cowart and senior middle blocker Hayley Bradford.
Newcomers Samantha Morales, an outside hitter, and setter Justine Quinteros are the only other seniors on the squad.
The rest of the Bulldog squad is made up of juniors.
Allison Tiegs and Nicole Mailhot will see time as middle blockers and Ashlyn Edwards will be an outside hitter. Lily Winn is a setter, Bridgette Pisa is a defensive specialist, Lucia Estrada a libero and Lauren Brenn an opposite hitter.
The biggest obstacle Burbank will face in the race for the Pacific League crown could come from rival Burroughs, which went 10-4 in league last season and was not hit as hard by graduation.
The Indians won Burbank’s Summer League tournament by defeating Eagle Rock in the championship match. Eagle Rock had previously knocked off the Bulldogs.
Burbank will scrimmage Milken Community on Aug. 29 at home at 3:30 p.m. The regular season begins on September 12 at South Pasadena followed by the Burbank Tournament on September 14.
The Bulldogs will begin defense of their league title on Sept. 19 against Arcadia at BHS. Battles against Burroughs will be staged on Oct. 10 at Burbank and Nov. 5 at Burroughs. Both matches are slated for 6 p.m.
Brown has taken the Bulldog program to a level of respectability and excellence. Two years ago her team advanced to the second round in the CIF playoffs for the first time in 36 years. Last season they won its first league title since 1975.
Don’t plan on sitting around for another 37 years waiting on the Bulldogs to win a league crown. Their sights are set for the upcoming season.
“Our league is going to be tough this year,” Brown said. “We always have good teams, and this year won’t be different.”