Burroughs Boys Volleyball Taken Out In Five Sets By Claremont

Despite the Bears losing to the Wolfpack, the match was close as Benji Ly, Henry Carlin, Charlie Gerard and backup setter Jae Kung all played well.

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The Burroughs boys' volleyball team prepares to meet Claremont. (Photo by Rick Assad)

By Rick Assad

Playing without its starting setter and also having to face an experienced and gifted outside hitter who will be playing at UCLA next season, was the situation facing the Burroughs High boys’ volleyball team on Tuesday afternoon.

With setter Caiden Shrode sidelined and Jae Kung filling in admirably with the help of his teammates, Claremont’s 6-foot-9-inch senior Caleb Sapp stepped up and finished with a match-best 27 kills as the Wolfpack escaped with a 25-17, 13-25, 22-25, 27-25, 19-17 nonleague win.

In the fifth set, Burroughs (0-1) was one point away at 17-16 after a kill from Benji Ly, but Sapp responded with a little push that evened it at 17-17,

Ly then hit the ball out of bounds that gave the Wolfpack an 18-17 edge and Sapp’s spike ended the game and match.

“We battled through adversity. It’s tough to have a guy go down like that and our guys rallied around our other setter and made him better,” longtime Burroughs coach Joel Brinton said. “We got ourselves a great battle and it will help us in the long run of the season.”

There was one thing Brinton hopes will improve as the season moves along.

“We need to get better at putting the ball away in transition and making better attacking decisions,” he said.  

Claremont (2-2) led 2-1 on an ace from senior outside hitter Ethan Gillin-Wheeler and it was even at 6-6 on an ace from Claremont’s sophomore libero Cooper Longyear.

Ly’s spike handed the Bears a 10-9 advantage and Henry Carlin’s dagger made it 13-12 in favor of Burroughs.

It was razor close, but the Wolfpack edged the Bears across five sets. (Photo by Rick Assad)

Sapp’s kill tied it at 13-13 and Sapp’s winner made it 15-14 in favor of the visitors.

“This was a back-and-forth match,” said Sapp, who had six kills in the opening set, two in the second, three in the third and nine kills in the fourth and seven kills in the fifth set. “We kept together and played for each other. Those first touches were important.”

The Bears took the second game after charging ahead 3-2, 4-2 and 5-2 on three aces from Carlin.

When Sapp’s ball sailed out of bounds, the Bears were in front 11-6 as the Wolfpack asked for time.

Carlin added a bullet to make it 12-7 and Charlie Gerard’s spike increased the margin to 13-7.

A push from Ryder Tafoya for the Bears made it 15-9 and a kill from Ly extended the lead to 17-11.

A service winner from Marci Reyes handed Burroughs a 19-11 edge, but Sapp’s kill cut the margin to 20-13.

Ly’s push made it 24-13 and Ly’s winner evened the match at one game apiece.

The third set saw the Wolfpack jump out to a 3-1 lead on a kill from Sapp, but the Bears rallied and led 6-5 on an ace from Reyes. It became 8-6 in favor of Burroughs on Ly’s winner.

Claremont tied it at 10-10 on a kill from senior middle blocker Louie Nolte and the Wolfpack led 12-10 on Gillin-Wheeler’s spike as the Bears asked for a stoppage in play.

Claremont surged ahead 15-13 on Nolte’s winner only to see the Bears march ahead 18-16 on a service ace from Perez as the Wolfpack needed a breather.

Gavin Arnold’s kill for the Bears pushed the lead to 20-17 and a stuff by Arnold extended the cushion to 22-19 as Claremont asked for time out.

Burroughs won the second and third sets and came close in the fifth set versus Claremont. (Photo by Rick Assad)

The Bears then led 24-20 on a winner from Ly and eventually captured the game and set.

The fourth game saw it even at 2-2 on an ace from Reyes and the Bears evened it at 4-4 on Gerard’s spike.

Arnold’s winner tied it at 6-6, but a block from senior opposite hitter Mateo Quadrini gave the Wolfpack a 9-6 edge as the Bears asked for time.

Quadrini’s stuff made it 12-9 and a kill from Sapp extended the cushion to 15-13.

Sapp’s winner made it 18-16, Sapp’s dagger made it 21-18 and Nolte’s kill saw the Wolfpack pull in front 24-20.

It was even at 24-24 on a co-block from Tafoya and Kung, but Sapp’s kill made it 25-24.

Nolte’s winner made it 26-25 and Sapp’s winner sealed the game and forced a fifth set.

The initial set saw the Wolfpack pull ahead 4-1 on an ace from Longyear, but Gerard’s kill shaved the lead to 6-4.

Claremont assumed a 10-7 advantage on Sapp’s kill and Sapp’s hit made it 11-8.

The Wolfpack made it 14-12 on a kill from Longyear, but the Bears moved within 14-13 on Gerard’s kill and 16-14 on a push from Tafoya.

Sapp asserted himself as his winner made it 20-14 and Sapp’s kill pushed the lead to 23-15.

When Longyear added a spike, the Wolfpack captured the set.