Being prepared for pressure situations is something the Burroughs High boys’ volleyball team is used to.
Senior Conner Ludlum experienced many tough situations a year ago when the Indians won the CIF Southern California Division 2 Regional title.
Ludlum took that experience to help lift his team Friday as the Indians defeated host Burbank High 25-23, 25-15, 27-25 in a Pacific League contest.
“This game was really a focus on our ability to go re-set throughout the match,” Ludlum said. “I know there were a couple of times we were down eight or nine points. We found a way to come together as a team, to re-set and take one point at a time.”
Ludlum, who finished with a match-high 15 kills, helped Burroughs rally back from significant deficits in both the first and third games.
“It helps out a ton,” Ludlum said of last season’s playoff experience. “I’m one of the five seniors on the team. Knowing that I’ve been there and I know what to experience that helps me to lead the younger guys. Props to a lot of the younger guys. I think a lot of them stepped up. I know a lot of people on the bench came in and they had really crucial serves. It was a big team effort.”
Burroughs (9-6, 5-0) trailed 15-8 at one point in the first game before climbing back to tie things at 19 on a kill by Ludlum.
“Sometimes I think we get carried away trying to do too much,” Burroughs coach Joel Brinton said. “We’re trying to get them to understand it’s a point, whether it is a tip or off a block. It doesn’t have to be a crush.”
Burbank (15-9, 3-2) gave Burroughs all it could handle, led by Adrian Rivera, who finished with 11 kills.
“We were definitely prepared,” Burbank coach Gaby Gallardo said. “We came out with good intensity and were fired up. Sometimes when we make a few mistakes we let the momentum go down. We just need to go back and work harder. I’m happy with how we fought. I’m happy with how they gave everything. That’s all I ever want from them.”
Burroughs finished off the first game with a kill from Ludlum followed by a block by Billy Singleton.
The Indians had little trouble in the second game by building a big lead early and never looking back.
Burbank jumped out a big lead in the third game, going up 10-3 at one point. Burroughs also suffered the loss of Jarrett Malone, who went out with a hand injury.
Burroughs came close, but did not actually catch the Bulldogs until the teams were tied at 24.
An ace by Ludlum helped put the Indians up 26-25 with just one point needed to clinch the match.
Levi Benitez had 28 assists and five aces for Burroughs. Cole Kaitz had nine kills and Jarrett had eight. Skyler Bercini and Everett Kanoho each had 10 digs.
Burbank’s Jonathan Tapan had 20 assists. Rory Rickey had five kills for the Bulldogs.