After receiving a bye in the first round of the CIF Southern Section playoffs, the Burroughs High boys’ volleyball team expected to face a tough opposition against a Valencia High team that had already won in the first round.
But Burroughs more than showed it was worthy of earning the bye with a 25-18, 25-21, 25-16 win over the visiting Vikings Thursday night in Division 2 matchup.
“We want to be playing our best volleyball right now and that was by far the best match we’ve been able to play,” Burroughs Coach Joel Brinton said. “Being in the playoffs for the first time in two years there were a little bit of jitters to get used to that again. We’re excited to hopefully build upon this into the next round.”
Burroughs will host second-seeded Huntington Beach at home on Wednesday in the quarterfinals.
What was impressive for Burroughs was that star Kade McGovern once again played just a part-time role in the victory.
The 6-foot-6 Harvard-bound outside hitter didn’t feature in the first game with the exception of serving four points. He finally appeared midway through the second game.
McGovern said he has been balancing high school and club volleyball and is trying not to overwork his arm.
“Tonight was a great start to what we hope is a long life in CIF. Everyone is going to be good competition no matter who we play,” said McGovern, who still had five kills and a pair of aces in his limited play. “We’re just glad that we have the confidence to bring it together when we need to.”
Burroughs jumped out to an early lead in the first game and was never threatened, winning 25-18. Carter Cottrell played a key role getting things started with several big points. He finished with six kills and a pair of blocks.
Valencia gave Burroughs trouble in the second game opening up to a 7-5 lead. McGovern then entered the match and things started to turn. The Bears tied things up at 10 on a block from Mark Hopkins. Just a sophomore, Hopkins had seven kills.
“I feel we started out really well with our intensity and energy and though we had a few bumps we kept the energy consistent and made sure at the end that we finished off as strong as we possibly could,” Hopkins said.
Valencia got as close as 22-21, but Burroughs finished pushed the lead further thanks to kills from Hopkins and Justin Burras.
Burroughs looked strong in the third and final game leading 23-12 at one point. That allowed Brinton to go to his bench. A kill by Kalani Coquia finished off the match.
Chris Johnson led Burroughs with 11 kills and Burras contributed seven.