Burroughs Girls Volleyball In Dogfight With Burbank

The Bears required four sets to handle the Bulldogs behind the play of Sadie Lomet, Tawnie Ohrt and Kiana Hildebrandt.

Burroughs edged visiting Burbank in a Pacific League finale, and it was hard-fought. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

By Rick Assad

It wasn’t easy a walk in the park when the host Burroughs High girls’ volleyball team squared off against city rival Burbank on Thursday night in a Pacific League finale.

Four sets were required, but it could have gone five games had a few points gone in favor of the Bulldogs, but it didn’t, and the Bears claimed a 25-20, 16-25, 25-19, 25-22 decision before a large and lively crowd.

Seniors Sadie Lomet and Tawnie Ohrt and junior opposite hitter Kiana Hildebrandt were the catalysts for the Bears (14-15 and 8-6 for fourth in league) while the Bulldogs (4-24 and 3-11 for seventh in league) were led by the steady play of senior outside hitter Ally Molloy, senior middle blocker Astoria Torres and senior libero Olivia Romagnino.

“This was fun to be a part of,” longtime Burroughs coach Edwin Real said. “Both teams played hard. Burbank pushed us to have to earn each point. The result was a good send off for the seniors.” 

The fourth game was even on nine occasions, but the Bears had just enough offense to take the set by three points.

In the early stages, Lomet, a middle blocker delivered three straight aces for a 4-3, 5-3 and 6-3 lead.

“I liked playing alongside my fellow seniors at home one last time, and the energy in the gym,” Lomet said. “I think everyone was very supportive of each other today and it shows how far we’ve come as a team.”

Burbank senior opposite hitter Addy Ritner played well for the Bulldogs, who lost in four sets to host Burroughs. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Hildebrandt’s winner made it 10-8 in favor of the Bears, but a push from Torres cut the advantage to 13-11.

When Torres added a spike, it was deadlocked at 14-14 as Burroughs asked for a stoppage in play.

After Orht’s hit found the net it was tied at 15-15, but Ohrt came through with a service winner that made it 17-15.

“I felt very motivated with the energy that was brought for my final rivalry game against Burbank,” said Ohrt, an outside hitter who will attend Arizona State University. “Both sides competed well, making it a competitive and exciting match, with the help from the large and noisy crowd.”

Burbank junior setter Arpa Khechadorian then tossed in three straight aces that handed the Bulldogs a 19-17 lead as the momentum seemed to have swung to the visitors.

Just when it looked somewhat dire for the Bears, junior defensive specialist Natalia Panozo rolled four consecutive service winners that made it 22-20 in favor of Burroughs as Burbank needed a time out.

Now in control and needing two points they came on Hildebrandt’s kill that made it 24-22 and Ohrt’s push that gave the Bears a hard-earned victory.

“It was a great way to end our league play, and we are looking forward to continuing our energy and momentum into our playoff matches,” Ohrt said. “I am proud of my team for not giving into pressure and continuing to fight hard, allowing us to beat Burbank for the final game of my career.”

The match began with the Bears scoring the first eight points that included three aces from Lomet that made it 2-0, 3-0 and 4-0, a kill from Hildebrandt that made it 7-0 as the Bulldogs needed a break in the action and Lomet’s ace for an 8-0 cushion.

Burroughs senior outside hitter Tawnie Ohrt was a spearhead for the Bears in a four-set win over Burbank in the Pacific League finale. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank finally scored on Lomet’s service error which made it 8-1 and a service miscue by Burbank senior opposite hitter Addy Ritner made it 9-1.

The Bulldogs would score the next 14 points and lead 15-9 as junior opposite hitter Brianna Barona chimed in with two kills and six aces including a winner that evened it at 9-9 as the Bears needed a time out and an ace that made it 15-9.

The Bears came within 15-13 on a spike from Hildebrandt and Ohrt’s ace leveled it at 15-15.

Lomet’s blast gave the Bears a 19-17 advantage, Ohrt’s slam increased the lead to 24-19 and Hildebrandt’s laser made it one set to none.

The third set was littered with 10 ties before the Bears were able to run away from the Bulldogs.

Molloy’s kill evened it at 1-1 and Burroughs sophomore middle blocker Khloe Pavia’s winner saw the set deadlocked at 2-2.

Burbank junior outside hitter Allie Foenander’s kill made it 6-6 and Burroughs sophomore outside hitter Sienna Lay’s spike leveled it at 11-11.

When freshman outside hitter Zoe Davis added an ace for the Bears, the hosts pulled ahead 15-13.

Lomet’s tapper made it 16-14 and consecutive service winners by Lomet extended the lead to 17-14 and 18-14 as Burbank asked for time.

Junior opposite hitter Lily McTeer’s ace made it 21-15 in favor of Burroughs and Hildebrandt’s spike made it 22-17.

When Pavia tossed in a spike, the Bears’ lead expanded to 23-17 as the Bulldogs needed a break in the action.

The next four points were divided in half and the set clincher was Lomet’s kill to make it 25-19.

Burbank’s lone set victory was in the second game which was also close in the early going as McTeer’s ace tied it at 2-2, Lay’s kill made it 4-4 and Molloy’s spike tied it at 5-5.

The Bulldogs then went on an 11-1 spurt and led 16-6 on a kill from Torres and in time the lead would expand to 18-9 on a kill from Foenander.

Ritner’s ace made it 21-10 and a kill from Torres pushed the Bulldogs in front 22-10.

The Bears cut into the lead 22-12 on an ace from Ohrt, 24-13 on a push from senior middle blocker Tara Rauenswinder, 24-16 on a block from Pavia, but a kill from Torres handed the Bulldogs the set.

“I feel like it was a great way to end our season. It was a really good game for them, and they were battling the whole time,” first-year Burbank coach and former Bulldog player Morgan Bolger said. “They worked together and focused on what needed to be accomplished on our end in order to succeed. We had a lot of great serves, especially from [Bee] Barona. We ran fast plays and had a solid defense. I’m proud of them and even though I’m so sad to see the seniors go, I’m excited for next season.”