By Rick Assad
Though it was a three-game sweep by the Burroughs High girls’ volleyball team over crosstown rival and host Burbank on Thursday night, it definitely wasn’t a walk in the park.
From the very first point and throughout the Pacific League contest, the high intensity matched the 25-22, 25-17, 25-18 final scores.
When offense was needed by the Bears it was supplied by senior outside hitter Tawnie Ohrt with seven kills, followed by sophomore outside hitter Sienna Lay and senior middle blocker Sadie Lomet with five spikes each.
Sophomore setter Savana Lay added 14 assists and six digs while junior setter Bella Barerra contributed three assists for the Bears (10-7 and 5-3 in league).
One can’t judge the Bulldogs (1-15 and 1-7 in league) on wins and loses alone, because despite the poor record, Burbank on this evening played extremely well and never backed down.
Senior libero Olivia Romagnino, senior outside hitter Ally Molloy, senior middle blocker Astoria Torres and sophomore setter Grace O’Connor, all stood tall for the Bulldogs.
“Burbank played well. We did have some good serving runs. I think a lot of our kids were quite nervous playing in the Burbank game for the first time,” Burroughs coach Edwin Real pointed out. “But, overall, it’s a good win.”
The match-clincher saw Burroughs leap to a 5-1 lead on a push from Savana Lay.
An ace from freshman outside hitter Zoe Davis, who had four aces, made it 7-2 in favor of the Bears, but the Bulldogs sliced the advantage to 9-6 with a push from Torres.
Ohrt’s spike handed Burroughs a 12-9 lead, but the Bulldogs rallied to take the lead 13-11 when a serve went out of bounds.
Numerous hitting errors from both teams saw the advantage become 17-14 in favor of the Bears and when Lomet’s spike increased the margin to 19-15, the visitors inched closer to the victory.
“I think that since our team is very young, it was hard for some of them to play under the loudness and pressure of a rivalry match, so that’s why the scores were a lot closer than they should’ve been,” Lomet explained.
Lomet believes when Burroughs hosts Burbank next month, it will be different.
“When we play them in October, we’ll make sure that our girls are able to not give into the distractions and focus on our game, and play Burroughs level volleyball,” she said.
Ohrt’s laser made it 21-15 and an ace from Davis extended the lead to 22-15.
Ohrt’s kill gave the Bears a 23-16 cushion, however, senior opposite hitter Addy Ritner’s spike for the Bulldogs trimmed the margin to 23-18.
Two points were earned by the Bears when Ritner’s shot missed the target and an ace from Barrera clinched the game and the match.
Morgan Bolger, the first-year Burbank coach and former player, was beaming about the team and its effort.
“I was so proud of them for really working together on the court,” she said. “I feel like we really are seeing progress as a team, and it’s so awesome seeing how far they’ve come.”
Bolger gave specific reasons for her upbeat attitude regarding the squad.
“I liked how they were keeping their heads up even when we were down. I liked how they kept their energy up and kept swinging no matter what,” she said. “I liked how they really gave it their all until the last point. Overall, I’m really proud of them and excited for the rest of the season.”
The first game commenced with each team making hitting mistakes as the Bulldogs led 4-3, but the Bears marched ahead 5-4 on a tapper from senior middle blocker Tara Rauenswinder.
An ace from Ohrt cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 8-7 and Lomet’s dagger evened it at 10-10.
At this juncture, the momentum began to side with the Bears who led 11-10 on junior opposite hitter Lily McTeer’s ace.
A push from Sienna Lay, who contributed seven digs, made it 12-10 and her kill saw Burroughs take a 15-12 lead.
Lomet’s service winner made it 16-13 as the Bulldogs asked for a stoppage in time.
A push from Ohrt, who added five digs and four aces, made it 17-14, but a kill from Burbank senior opposite hitter Raquel Fox sliced the lead to 18-16.
It was even at 19-19 and Lomet’s kill made it 21-19 and forced Burbank to ask for another time out.
McTeer’s ace made it 22-19 and a push and a kill from Sienna Lay gave the Bears a 23-20 advantage.
The Bulldogs drew to 23-21 on a kill from Molloy, but the Bears took two of the next three points including a winner from Ohrt for the set.
The middle set wasn’t as much of a struggle for the Bears who led 8-3 when Burbank junior opposite hitter Brianna [Bee] Barona’s attempt hit the net as the Bulldogs requested a time out.
Three consecutive aces from Lomet made it 10-4, 11-4 and 12-4 and a push from Lomet increased the lead to 16-9.
Savana Lay’s back-to-back aces made it 18-11 and 19-11 and a kill from sophomore middle blocker Khloe Pavia made it 21-12 in favor of the Bears.
A service winner from Davis gave the Bears a 23-12 lead and Lomet’s ace saw the Bears leap ahead 24-17.
Ritner’s hitting miscue sealed the game and a two to none set advantage for Burroughs.