By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor
Easy there young fella. Be careful of who you are messing with.
Wednesday night’s Pacific League match between Burroughs and Burbank was expected to be a close affair. With the Bulldogs having won 10 of their first 11 contests on the season, the question was whether or not they were ready to break through against the four-time defending league champions.
The Indians quickly reminded everyone in attendance who the boss still is. Burroughs dominated in every phase of the match as they swept Burbank in three sets 25-15, 25-15, 25-16.
“I thought the boys did well. I knew we had a challenge because Patrick (McMenamin) has done a great job up there with Burbank,” Burroughs coach Joel Brinton said. “This game was bigger than it usually is but we didn’t blow it up to anything more than that. We came out focused and did a good job.”
The first set featured a series of runs between the two clubs. Burroughs increased a slim 5-4 lead into a 14-6 advantage only to see Burbank rip off five consecutive points to close the gap to three. Two blocks by Willie Perryman helped the Bulldogs come back.
The Indians, however, went on an 8-1 run large in part due to the poor play by the Bulldogs. Five hitting errors by BHS enabled Burroughs to go ahead, 22-12, en route to the first set win.
“We worked hard last week and everything came out pretty smooth,” the Indians’ Max Chamberlain said. “We came out confident and it worked.”
A back-and-forth see-saw affair consumed the early part of the second set with Burroughs leading, 13-12.
Three kills by the Indians’ Nick Van Loo highlighted an 8-0 run to give JBHS a commanding 21-12 lead. Back-to-back kills by Chamberlain and Dalton Burroughs closed out the 25-15 win for the Indians.
If Burbank had any chance to come back from a 2-0 deficit, the first few points of the third set would be pivotal. Van Loo squashed those ideas by serving consecutive aces to begin the third frame. A Burbank hitting error made it 3-0 in favor of Burroughs and the Bulldogs never recovered trailing the rest of the way.
“First of all we came out like it’s another game on our schedule. One more road bump,” said Van Loo, who had 10 kills and four aces. “We came out to show the league and anybody else who we are. I can’t wait for the rest of the season.”
Burroughs (9-3, 3-0) played a very efficient match with four players recording seven or more kills. Along with Van Loo, Chamberlain had seven kills while Tristan Martin and (Dalton) Burroughs each had nine.
Van Loo and Chamberlain came up with big play after big play shutting down any Burbank threats.
“They have been working hard at practice so it doesn’t surprise me to see them play like that,” Brinton said. “They have been busting their tail at practice over the last two weeks or so. It’s one of the better games they have had this year and I know they will keep improving too.”
Ryan Van Loo, Nick’s brother, played a steady game at setter with 35 assists and Danny Casillas contributed 10 digs.
It was a quiet night in the stat column for Burbank as the Bulldogs’ star player, Joseph Servin, was held to a season-low two kills (both of which came in the third set).
Dylan Anderson led Burbank (10-2, 3-1) with five kills and six digs. Perryman added four blocks but it wasn’t enough for the Bulldogs who have closed the gap on Burroughs but still have a ways to go.
“We didn’t execute our game plan and they did,” Burbank coach Patrick McMenamin said succinctly. “They played real well. They showed why they are the best team in the league.”
Burroughs plays at co-defending league champion Claremont on Friday with undefeated Crescenta Valley looming in the distance a week from Friday.
Burbank will have to wait until April 25 for another crack at the Indians.