By Rick Assad
Two powerhouse boys’ volleyball teams took the floor when host Burroughs High faced Arcadia.
Though it wasn’t easy by any measure, and every point was a battle, the Bears were able to sweep past the Apaches in three sets by the scores of 25-19, 25-20, 25-13 in a Pacific League encounter.
Burroughs didn’t play a perfect game, but it came fairly close as it served well, passed well and had enough offense on Wednesday.
“We served better than they did. Because our serving was a little tougher than theirs, they couldn’t get the passes to run their offense and that ended up making the difference,” Burroughs coach Joel Brinton said.
Brinton thinks there’s much to learn from this match and it will help prepare the Bears for the rest of the season.
“It’s all going to depend on how much we learn from these matches,” he said. “We see Arcadia again in about three or four weeks and how much better are we going to be by then and are we going to fix the things that we weren’t happy with tonight.”
The Bears (8-3 and 1-0 in league) began the season by winning four straight matches before dropping three in a row. They have now won four consecutive.
The Apaches came into the match having claimed 10 straight games before falling to the Bears.
The third set proved to be the most lopsided of the three despite Burroughs falling behind 2-0.
The Bears would outscore the Apaches 7-1 and then take an 11-7 advantage on a kill from Vinny Harris.
A winner from Justin Burras made it 13-9 and another spike from Burras extended Burroughs margin to 17-11.
Burras added another winner that made it 19-11 and a smash from Harris pushed it to 22-11.
Burras continued his strong play after getting two of the three final points as it became 24-12 and 25-13 which clinched the set and the match.
The Bears came out in the first set and bulled ahead 3-0 when Arcadia’s Kyle Soriano’s shot sailed out of bounds.
A kill from Mark Hopkins gave the Bears a 6-3 lead, but the Apaches rallied and outscored the Bears 7-2 and led 10-8 on a block from Matt Le.
Burroughs showed real spunk and came within 12-11 on a kill from Burras and then bounded ahead 15-13 on yet another rocket from Burras.
A blast from Burras gave the Bears a 19-17 advantage and Burras then added another kill that made it 20-18.
A tapper from Harris handed the Bears a 23-18 lead and when Harris collected another winner, it became 25-19 as Burroughs grabbed the first set.
After Burroughs jumped in front 3-0 in the second game when Jesse Lok hit the net for the Apaches (10-1 and 0-1 in league), the Bears dashed ahead 8-2 on a push from Harris.
Burroughs then seized command 12-5 when Le drilled the ball out of bounds and then quickly darted ahead 15-9 when Kevin Nakaishi’s serve went out of bounds.
A kill from Burras made it 17-10 and the Bears’ lead ballooned to 20-13 on Pucky Lawrence’s cannon-shot.
“We went on a serving run. We went on a couple of those. I felt our blocks were there and we weren’t hitting into area six,” Lawrence said. “It could have been mental because I saw their setter with his head down.”
Lawrence said that his team was ready for the match against the Apaches. “We came prepared,” he said. “We had a scouting report. We knew what to do and we were ready.”
Even with the sweep, Lawrence said this team is barely getting started. “If I’m being honest, I didn’t play too well and a lot of our other players didn’t play too splendidly,” he noted. “I’m not trying to be on my high horse, but we were at 60 percent.”
Consecutive kills from Burras made it 22-19 and 23-19 and a winner from Lawrence made it 24-20.
The second set was finalized when Le’s hit bolted out of bounds as the Bears had a two games to none advantage.