Following a rough stretch to start the season, the Burroughs High girls’ volleyball team looked to get back on track by turning its attention to Pacific League competition.
The Bears captured the league championship last season by a large margin and won the league for the second time in the last three years.
Things didn’t go as planned for Burroughs, which suffered a hard-fought 25-23, 27-25, 25-21 home defeat against Arcadia on Friday in a league opener for both teams.
Burroughs (2-8) found itself on the cusp of winning the first two sets yet couldn’t close out Arcadia (6-1).
“We showed the good fight, but we had trouble finishing,” said veteran Burroughs coach Edwin Real, whose team went 13-0 in the league before falling to Mission Viejo in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs last season. “It’s something we’re trying to correct, and I’m confident we can.
“We were up 5-0 in the first two sets, and we couldn’t pull away. We were right there at the end of the first two sets and couldn’t finish. So, we’ll look to change that.”
Burroughs and Arcadia came into the season as two of the top teams in the league, along with Crescenta Valley. The Bears and Apaches, who placed second in the league last season, proved why they are among the elite league squads after playing in three white-knuckler sets.
In the first set, Burroughs took a 13-10 lead on a kill by senior outside hitter Janessa Wareebor, who finished the contest with a team-high 11 kills. Arcadia took a 19-18 lead before Burroughs grabbed a 21-19 lead on a kill by junior middle blocker Sadie Lomet.
Following a 4-0 run by the Apaches, the Bears tied it at 23. Two straight kills by Arcadia’s Chayse Hoon (16 kills overall) closed out the set.
The Bears jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the second set and extended the lead to 20-13 on a kill by Wareebor. The Apaches tied it at 23 on a block by Ziming Wang before a kill by Burroughs’ Tawnie Ohrt gave the Bears a 24-23 lead. Arcadia took a 25-24 lead, and Burroughs tied it at 25. A block and kill by Wang and Cindy Lu, respectively, gave the Apaches the set and a commanding 2-0 lead.
Wareebor said the second set proved to be the turning point.
“In the second set, we were hustling for balls and playing well,” Wareebor said. “It was a fun set and we were right there. We tried to keep the foot on the pedal. We’re still learning how to close out games. The second set was a lesson we’ll learn from.”
The Bears tied the third set at 17 on a kill by Lomet. However, the Apaches sealed the victory with an 8-4 run.
“It seemed like we were a little nervous and not confident once we build a lead in all three sets,” Real said.
Burroughs, which has won 12 league titles in program history, will next face Hoover in a league road match at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.