The Burroughs High girls’ volleyball team swept crosstown rival Burbank on Thursday night at the Bulldogs’ gym before a full house, and the swing game was the first which could have gone either way.
When it counted the most, the Indians dug deep and claimed the initial stanza and the Pacific League match, 25-20, 25-11, 25-12, reinforcing their No. 10 ranking in the CIF Southern Section Division II-A.
“After we settled down as a team in the first game, we moved the ball around to different hitters,” Burroughs coach Edwin Real said. “Once we did that, we were able to control the tempo. We relied on our second and third hitters.”
Burbank played well, hard and never threw in the towel, but Burroughs is like a finely-tuned boxer who is relentless.
“We had an opportunity in the first game, but we let it slip through our fingers,” first-year Burbank coach Karl Rojo said. “This is a big cross-town rivalry and there’s a lot of emotion. We played hard and well never gave up.”
The Indians (12-4 and 7-0 in league) opened the initial game by pulling ahead 2-0 and led 5-2 on a service ace from sophomore setter Payton Jensen. It became 10-5 when senior defensive specialist Samantha Sullivan served an ace.
Burroughs led 14-9 on a kill from senior outside hitter Danielle Ryan, but the Bulldogs closed within 15-12 on junior outside hitter Hailey Heath’s kill, and 16-13 on sophomore setter Melissa Daniel’s kill. Heath finished with five kills and Daniel had 11 assists.
“Danielle has been a four-year starter and did what she’s supposed to do,” Real said. “She took charge. But I thought everything was good today.”
Burroughs never lost its composure as it dashed ahead 19-14 on junior outside hitter Cesera Suarez’s ace. When senior opposite hitter Marina Monokian served an ace for the Bulldogs (6-5 and 4-3 in league), it became 19-16, as the Indians called time out.
It became 22-17 on Ryan’s smash, but an ace from junior middle blocker Nicole Winters closed the gap to 23-19, and 23-20 when Ryan’s smash went out of bounds.
“We need to work harder in practice,” Winters said. “We need to be positive throughout the entire match. The first game was our strongest, but in the second and third we were anxious. We can’t let it get into our heads.”
The Indians led 2-0 in the middle game on a kill from junior middle blocker Caleigh Paster (six kills). It would balloon to 9-3 on an ace from Jensen, and Suarez’s ace made it 11-4 which forced the Bulldogs to call time out.
Burroughs moved ahead 14-6 on Ryan’s kill, but junior outside hitter Colette Reynolds dropped in a dagger for the Bulldogs that made it 14-7, and an ace from Winters made it 14-8.
“It was like a roller coaster,” Reynolds said. “We’d go up and then we’d go down. We made too many mistakes. But I thought the team did really well and we played really hard. This was a learning opportunity.”
Reynolds addressed the importance in spotting the hitter. “We have to read and react really fast,” she said.
Ryan is a floor leader and had a match-best 14 kills. “Everybody gets hyped-up for this game because it’s a rival game,” she said. “We try to stay calm like it’s another game. I thought we did a really good job. We passed the ball well and we hit well.”
From there, the Indians pulled ahead 17-8 on a block from Paster, and 20-9 on a kill from sophomore middle blocker Marin Grote (four kills).
A tapper from Reynolds closed the gap to 20-10, but the Indians would take five of the next six points for the game that included points from sophomore outside hitter Julianna Cottrell, an ace from Jensen and a winner from Sullivan.
The third game was tied at 3-3 and 5-5 on a kill from Ryan, but the Indians went on a 5-0 spurt that was capped with Ryan’s block.
A Winters kill made it 10-6, but the Indians pulled ahead 16-8 on a kill from sophomore setter Mia Staub, and led 20-11 on Paster’s smash.
Burroughs closed with a 5-1 run that included two kills from Ryan, Sullivan’s ace, Paster’s kill, and an ace from Staub.
Burbank will play Burroughs on Nov. 3 at the Indians’ gym.