By Rick Assad
Before the second set began, Burroughs High outside hitter Lydia Grote went over and gave a high five and said words of encouragement to the other five teammates on the court.
Though the Indians were down a game, this wasn’t something that Grote was overly concerned with, but still wanted to inspire her team and exhibit leadership.
Looking back, this small gesture by Grote may have ignited the comeback by Burroughs over visiting Crescenta Valley in a Pacific League showdown as it went on a took the next three sets and captured a 20-25, 25-20, 25-8, 25-10 decision in a girls’ volleyball match on Tuesday.
With a victory over Muir at home on Thursday, Burroughs will have secured at least a share of yet another league banner.
The second set commenced with a co-stuff from Burroughs sophomore middle blocker Bella Lomet and Grote that made it 5-1.
“On the first set it was anyone’s game. It wasn’t our game, but it also wasn’t their game,” said Grote, a senior who will attend and play women’s volleyball for UC Berkeley and who had a match-best 14 kills with two blocks.
“We were just here to play and we really had to think about what we have to do to play better on our side of the court,” Grote added. “We can’t control their side of the court.”
Junior outside hitter Catie Virtue’s spike made it 8-3 and when Virtue (11 kills) added another winner, Burroughs’ lead ballooned to 13-8.
A laser from senior middle blocker Camila Sanchez-Tellez (11 kills) made it 15-10.
Grote’s kill pushed Burroughs’ cushion to 18-15.
Virtue’s dagger made it 20-17 and Sanchez-Tellez’s kill gave the Indians a 22-18 lead.
“We were very inconsistent. It’s frustrating,” Burroughs coach Edwin Real said of the initial set, which could have gone either way. “Communication was not very good for us. Actually it was very poor. When you play well, you communicate better.”
A jam from Sanchez-Tellez handed the Indians a 23-19 advantage and a service ace from Virtue saw Burroughs extend its lead to 24-19. Sanchez-Tellez’s missile was the set-winner and evened it at one game each.
Sanchez-Tellez’s kill in the third set delivered Burroughs a 2-0 lead and Grote’s string of three kills pushed the margin to 7-5.
A co-stuff from junior defensive specialist Lily Rogers (five aces) and Lomet made it 10-6 as Crescenta Valley, which is tied with Arcadia for second place in league, asked for time.
A service winner from Rogers saw the Indians race to a 12-6 lead and a tapper from sophomore setter Meagan Lynch pushed it to 14-7 as the Falcons (32-10 and 9-2 in league) once again requested time out.
Sanchez-Tellez’s kill then increased the lead for Burroughs to 18-7 and Virtue’s spike made it 21-7.
Virtue’s sledge hammer made it 24-8 and junior outside hitter Mariah Bowman’s spike sealed the game.
In the fourth set, the Indians bolted out to a 4-2 lead on Grote’s kill. Lomet’s sizzler made it 6-3 and Sanchez-Tellez’s tapper increased the edge to 11-6 as the Falcons needed yet another respite.
Sanchez-Tellez’s tapper and kill shoved the Indians in front 13-9 and Virtue’s smash made it 18-10.
The Indians (14-4 and 11-0 in league) then scored the next seven points that included an ace from Virtue that made it 21-10 and Virtue’s service winner that clinched the set and match.
The initial set was even at 1-1, 2-2 and 3-3 before the Falcons emerged with an 8-3 lead on a kill from senior outside hitter Lizzy Kerman.
But the Indians responded and evened it up at 10-10 on an ace from sophomore defensive specialist Charlotte Hobson (five aces).
Crescenta Valley surged in front 15-11 on an ace from sophomore setter Sydney Postelwaite, however, a kill from Virtue sliced the lead to 16-12.
When Virtue’s ball sailed out of bounds, the Falcons led 2-14 as the Indians asked for a halt in the action.
“We really struggled to pass all night and when you can’t pass, it’s tough to do anything else,” Crescenta Valley coach Matt Simons said. “The girls, they’re amped up for this game. They know Burroughs is the league champs and in first place.”
Simons continued: “When things didn’t go our way, it was really tough to dig ourselves out of that hole,” he explained. “We weren’t in the best mental state all night. When Burroughs struggled in game one, they had the same positive minds all the way through. When we struggled, which we’re bound to do in a close match, we almost tried to press harder and harder. Mentally we dug ourselves more of a hole.”
A spike from junior outside hitter Jamie Santos (seven kills) made it 22-16 in favor of the Falcons.
A tapper from Kerman (team-best 12 kills with seven digs and two aces) had Crescenta Valley ahead 24-17 and a joint-block from senior setter/opposite hitter Isabella Doom and senior middle blocker Ellie Song (five kills) sewed up the set.