Burroughs Boys Volleyball Sweeps Burbank

The Bears claim a 25-22, 25-15, 25-23 victory over the Bulldogs behind the play of Benji Ly, Charlie Gerard, Ryder Tafoya and Henry Carlin.

It was the clash between Burbank and Burroughs on the volleyball court which the Bears won in three sets. (Photo by Rick Assad)

By Rick Assad

In the city battle between the Burroughs High boys’ volleyball team and visiting Burbank, the Bears swept the Bulldogs, but it wasn’t that easy because in two of the three sets, the difference was just five points.

Ultimately, Burroughs seemed to have a little more in the tank and prevailed 25-22, 25-15, 25-23 in a Pacific League match before a capacity crowd on Thursday evening.

The Bears used a multitude of weapons, namely Benji Ly, Charlie Gerard, Ryder Tafoya and Henry Carlin to lead the offense and the team.

Joel Brinton is the longtime Burroughs coach and was happy with the win.

“I’m not really sure what the difference was other than we got a couple more kills,” he said. “Both sides struggled to play clean, and the result was some close games. Hopefully we start to pick it up with only a few weeks left of the season.”

Early on in the deciding game, Burroughs (11-5 and 5-1 in league) seized control 6-3 on Carlin’s kill and led 8-4 on Ly’s spike.

Gerard’s winner made it 11-6, but the Bulldogs refused to throw in the towel as they stormed back to within 13-11 on Ryan Viyar’s service winner.

The Bears swept the Bulldogs, but in two of the three sets it was close as five points separated the two teams. (Photo by Rick Assad)

The Bears were just as stubborn as they moved ahead 17-12 on a kill from Gerard as Burbank asked for a time out.

Burroughs took a 19-16 lead on a winner from Ly and forged ahead 21-18 on Gerard’s kill.

Sam Jurman’s kill for the Bulldogs shaved the deficit to 22-20 and it was cut to 23-21 on Gerard’s service error.

After Taiyo Nakao’s block for Burbank (3-11 and 1-6 in league) it was trimmed to 23-22 and was even it 23-23 on Gavin Arnold’s mishit.

The final two points went to the Bears as Ian Villaflor’s serve sailed out of bounds and Ly’s spike gave the set and match to Burroughs.

Brandon Villaflor is the Burbank coach and was beaming despite the setback.

“I think our overall game today was great. I think the difference today came down to our mindset,” he said. “We didn’t overthink anything, and we allowed ourselves to play the game we know.”

Villaflor added: “We competed hard, our side out execution off the start was great,” he said. “I think it just came down to a couple of mistakes that were in our control, such as service errors, or gaps in our defense. I am beyond proud of our team today.”

In the initial set, it was close throughout and deadlocked three times early, but the Bears led 5-3 on Ly’s push and 6-3 on Nathan Kameya’s service winner.

It became 9-5 on Caiden Shrode’s stuff, 11-8 on Gerard’s kill and 13-10 on Gerard’s push.

The Bulldogs played with grit and spirit and made it tough for the Bears. (Photo by Rick Assad)

The Bulldogs fought back and outscored the Bears 3-1 and came within 14-13 on Villaflor’s ace.

Burroughs pulled ahead 18-15 on Ly”s spike and 20-18 on a winner from Gerard.

Burbank inched within 21-20 on Jurman’s spike, but Burroughs claimed four of the next six points including the gamer-winner on Ly’s kill.

The middle set was the most lopsided especially but not so much in the beginning as it was tied five times.

It was knotted at 1-1 on Arnold’s hitting miscue, 2-2 on a service error by Burbank’s Anthony Ohanian, 3-3 on Tafoya’s kill, 5-5 on a co-block from Gerard and Tafoya and 7-7 on Arnold’s tapper.

The Bulldogs came within 11-10 on Jurman’s kill but the Bears pulled away at 15-11 on Tafoya’s bullet.

When Rosendo Valle served an ace, Burbank needed a stoppage in time, but the Bears won the next point and led 18-12 on Gerard’s kill.

Consecutive service winners from Nakao cut the lead to 19-14 and 19-15, but Gerard’s kill made it 20-15.

Carlin’s winner increased the cushion to 23-15 as Burbank needed a stoppage in the action, but a co-stuff from Carlin and Marci Reyes made it 24-15 and Gerard’s spike ended the set.