It is often said that the difference between good teams and great teams is that great teams can win when playing poorly.
The Burroughs High boys’ volleyball team came out very flat Tuesday night when the Indians took on visiting Chatsworth in the first round of the Division 2 CIF Boys’ Volleyball State Regional Championships.
The Indians rallied to win 21-25, 22-25, 25-15, 25-19, 15-12. They will host Sanger High of Fresno County on Thursday at a time still to be determined as Burroughs’ graduation ceremony is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
“Yep, absolutely the worst we’ve played all year. In fact, probably the whole school year, including practices and everything else,” Burroughs coach Joel Brinton said of the first two games. “I don’t know if it was a hangover from CIF (Southern Section championship). Saturday meant a lot to the guys. They were still trying to shake off the cobwebs I guess.”
Chatsworth (33-13) was the Los Angeles City Section Division 2 champion. The Chancellors had two common opponents with Burroughs in Valencia and South Pasadena highs. Chatsworth lost to both of those teams and Burroughs swept them both.
Burroughs entered the match having lost the CIF Southern Section Division 2 title to Oak Park on Saturday at Cerritos College.
“Beforehand we made an agreement that no matter what, we were (okay with) missing graduation to win a state championship because this is our only redemption,” said Cameron Capili, who had 20 kills. “Not many teams get to do this. We’re fighting for everything we’ve got.”
Burroughs (29-6) got a school record 34 kills from Andrew Dalmada and a school record in assists from setter Ryan Van Loo, who finished with 61.
“We want to go all the way until Saturday,” Van Loo said. “We want that rematch (with Oak Park) and we’re going to do whatever it takes to get that.”
After Burroughs lost the first two games, the Indians played their best volleyball of the match in the third game when they easily won 25-15.
Dalmada, Capili, Van Loo and fellow senior Bailey Carter spearheaded the comeback.
“We underestimated our opponents,” Capili said. “We found out real quick. We’ve been coached great enough and we’ve endured enough that we were able to come back.”
Burroughs struggled at times in the fourth game as Chatsworth had things tied at 19. But Burroughs ended the game on a 6-0 run. Dalmada had two kills, Capili had a kill and an ace and sophomore Cole Kaitz had a block in the run.
The Indians also had to fight back in the fifth and final game, trailing 9-7. Dalmada helped bring his team back with three consecutive kills. Following a Chatsworth error, Capili served one of his four aces to seal the victory.
Carter finished with 9 kills and three blocks.