It wasn’t as lopsided as the first time the Burroughs High boys’ volleyball team faced Burbank.
Still the end result was the same, but instead of a three-game sweep, the Indians needed four games in order to stifle the host Bulldogs on Thursday night.
Behind the overall play of Cole Kaitz, who had a match-best 21 kills, the Indians prevailed 25-15, 20-25, 27-25, 25-22, in a Pacific League match and remain undefeated.
“We just try to look at every game like it’s the same game,” Kaitz said. “Every game is the same to me. So just because it’s the crosstown rivalry, it doesn’t really mean much to us. It’s just another game. Another opponent. I’ve played these guys already four years in a row.”
Burroughs won its ninth consecutive league banner, stretched its league match streak to 64 victories and has knocked off Burbank 14 matches in a row.
“Last time we got lucky because they couldn’t pass. We knew it wasn’t going to be the same thing,” Burroughs coach Joel Brinton said. “Trying to convince a group of teenagers of that is hard at times.”
Brinton said the Bulldogs put up a good fight.
“Losing that set probably was a really good thing to wake us up,” he noted. “Getting the battle that we got. It’s what we want our league to become. A slugfest. Burbank made us do that. They passed really well. They played great defense all night.”
The third set was tied on 12 occasions including 24-24 on a kill from Burbank’s senior outside hitter Jonathan Ragheb, who finished with nine kills.
Senior setter Brian Valmonte (41 assists) served an ace for the Bulldogs that made it 25-24, but his net serve evened it at 25-25.
After a net violation gave the Indians (17-8 and 11-0 in league) a 26-25 cushion, Azael Estrada’s block secured the game for Burroughs.
Valmonte’s spike evened it at 4-4, but the Indians’ Connor Burroughs’ winner made it 8-8.
The Indians, who took out the Bulldogs 25-5, 25-11, 25-18 on March 30, moved in front 14-11 on Kaitz’s hammer and it became 17-15 on another bullet from Kaitz, who added three blocks.
The Bulldogs (15-6 and 9-2 in league) then went on a 6-2 run that made it 21-19 and included a kill from junior outside hitter Ryan Rickey (five kills).
“I wanted them to go out there and be aggressive,” Burbank coach Karl Rojo said. “Not be so timid and shy at the service line or when you’re out there swinging. I think we did a pretty good job of staying aggressive in our attacks and service.”
Despite the setback, Rojo liked what he saw.
“There’s definitely been a lot of improvement shown since we last played them,” he said. “We were able to get more hitters involved.”
The deciding set was tied 16 times including 22-22 on a dagger by Kaitz.
A kill from Kaitz made it 23-22 as the Bulldogs asked for time out.
Kaitz’s stuff pushed the Indians’ advantage to 24-22 and Kaitz then topped off his evening with a smash for the set and match.
Burroughs darted ahead 5-4 on a service ace from Jose Solano (33 assists and 16 digs) and leveled it at 10-10 on Kaitz’s spike.
A block from Jagger Green pushed the Indians’ lead to 12-10, but the Bulldogs outscored Burroughs 5-3 and tied it at 15-15 on Ragheb’s rocket.
The initial set was a bit more one-sided as the Indians took control 3-0 on an ace from Michael Rumfola and were never headed.
The advantage became 8-4 on Rumfola’s kill and 14-7 on Diego Rosal’s winner.
Burbank came within 16-10 on a kill from senior middle blocker Rory Rickey (14 kills).
Burroughs seized control 22-13 on Kaitz’s bomb and snatched the set on a spike from Rumfola.
Burbank’s best set was the second as it led 5-2 on an ace from Ryan Rickey.
The Indians evened it at 10-10 on a blast from Rosal (10 kills), but the Bulldogs darted ahead 12-11 on junior opposite hitter Luca Bily’s bomb.
The Indians drew within 16-14 on a service winner from Rosal, but the Bulldogs went on a 5-4 spurt and led 21-18 on a kill from Ryan Rickey as Burroughs asked for a time out.
A 4-2 explosion by the Bulldogs and a kill from Ryan Rickey evened the match at one game apiece.
Sam Tipton contributed 16 digs for the Indians, while senior libero Eddie Curren tossed in 12 digs for the Bulldogs.