By Jim Riggio
Special to BurbankNBeyond
Burbank High has had a boys’ volleyball program in the past.
In the late 1990s the Bulldogs were coached by Randy Stage. Then in 2008 girls’ coach Sarah Brown started a team only to see it cut after just one season.
The Bulldogs are back in business again and will field a varsity team for a second consecutive year under Coach Patrick McMenamin. Last season the Bulldogs went 8-15 overall and 4-8 in the Pacific League.
McMenamin has plans to keep this program around for good. He started with junior varsity and freshman-sophomore teams in 2011 before jumping up to the varsity level a year ago.
“Seventy-one students tried out this year, so I am pleased with the growing popularity of the sport since we started,” McMenamin said. “But now it’s time to improve the quality of our play.”
The Bulldogs coach says crosstown rival Burroughs and Claremont High, the latter of which is not part of the traditional Pacific League, are the favorites to win the league title.
“They are both loaded again this year, and they have good coaching,” McMenamin said. “We will be competing with the other schools for the remaining two playoff spots, and our players feel that it’s attainable this year.”
The Pacific League will have seven teams, along with Crescenta Valley, Arcadia, Hoover and Glendale. The league has been moved up from Division III in the CIF Southern Section playoffs to Division II.
Burbank will have to replace setter Armen Sargsyan, who earned honorable mention all-league last season and is now playing at Pierce College.
Filling in for Sargsyan will be seniors Jason Gomez and Ryan Garcia. Ten of the 13 players on the varsity team are seniors. There is no substitution for experience. Burbank will rely on the vast amount of seniors to carry them this season.
Senior Derian Blandon and junior Justin Saisirikul will be counted on in the outside hitter positions.
In the middle blocker roles, Burbank will be looking to seniors Josh Wright, Paolo Fabregar and Elijah Cowart to control the tempo of the game at the net.
Senior John You figures to fill the opposite hitter role.
“We held a thorough offseason filled with workouts, practices, tournaments, and leagues, so hopefully that pays off with more success for the players,” McMenamin said.
Filing out the Bulldogs’ 13-player roster are senior liberos Jack Dagher and Mario Hernandez, senior outside hitter Victor Mendoza, junior middle blocker Tyler Ryan and junior six-foot-two opposite hitter Joseph Servin.
McMenamin set the foundation of the BHS program a year ago. Now he will patiently build upon his core values and philosophies in an effort to establish a permanent home for Burbank boys’ volleyball.
In a sport that is vastly growing day by day in the high school ranks, McMenamin is creating a culture at BHS that is quickly attracting student-athletes. As the adage goes, patience is a virtue. The stability and future of the program appears to be bright and in very good hands.
The Bulldogs host Arcadia this Tuesday and rival Burroughs on March 14. Both matches are scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at Burbank High.