By Rick Assad
Special to MyBurbank
It’s not as though the Burroughs High boys’ volleyball team was on cruise control, but it was pretty close as the Indians were forced to play four games in order to capture a Pacific League victory over Burbank on Friday night.
Encouraged by a loud capacity crowd, the host Indians used a multi-pronged offensive attack that featured senior outside hitter Max Chamberlain, and starred junior middle blocker Andrew Dalmada, junior outside hitter Cameron Capili and junior setter Ryan Van Loo in a 25-20, 21-25, 25-15, 25-17 triumph.
A change in shift was evident after the Bulldogs’ second game win, but alas, they couldn’t derail Burroughs, the CIF Southern Section Division II No. 2 ranked team, and owners of a 17-match winning streak.
“We didn’t play well,” said Burroughs coach Joel Brinton, whose powerhouse team is ranked No. 12 in the state according to the website maxpreps.com, and is seeking its sixth consecutive league banner. “We struggled some in the early going of games, and it seems that we do our best work in the 20’s. We’re getting everybody’s best shot. We’re like those Los Angeles Lakers’ teams who flipped the switch and I’m not crazy about that.”
Chamberlain’s 15th and final kill was the match-clincher, and it seemed appropriate given his incredible body of work.
Chamberlain was helped significantly by Dalmada, who paved the way with 16 kills, 12 digs and four blocks, while senior libero Matt Kim contributed 17 digs and Van Loo had 43 assists.
The final game saw the Bulldogs (14-8 and 6-4 in league) pull ahead 5-2 when Chamberlain’s smash drifted out of bounds before redeeming himself when his ace knotted it at 7-7.
“I want the ball,” said Chamberlain, who will play volleyball at Pepperdine University. “I’m always ready to go. I’ve been hitting the ball in the backcourt. I trust everybody on the court.”
Burbank leveled it at 9-9 on a service ace from sophomore outside hitter Zack Cranmer, before Burroughs (20-1 and 9-0 in league) darted ahead 14-10 on a winner from Capili (10 kills).
The Indians moved in front 20-15 when Dalmada and senior middle blocker Tulley Hunt joined forces on a block.
The second game was even seven times including 2-2, 4-4, 12-12, 15-15, 16-16, 17-17 and 20-20, and wasn’t settled until Burbank outscored the Indians, 5-1, that included three stuffs from senior middle blocker Willie Perryman. In the run, Cranmer had an ace while junior setter Paul Shim added a block.
Burroughs opened up a 2-0 advantage in that stanza on junior middle blocker Bailey Carter’s kill, however, the Bulldogs rebounded and led 6-4 when Perryman and senior middle blocker Robert O’Brien collaborated on a jam.
Burbank led 12-10 that included Perryman’s block and winner, but the Indians tied it at 12-12 on Chamberlain’s kill, and it was even at 17-17 on Burbank junior outside hitter Brandon Alba’s smash.
The opening game was tied at 2-2 on Dalmada’s winner, and 3-3 on O’Brien’s kill, before Burbank seized control and led 12-8 on Perryman’s blast.
“I always feel that I could have done more,” said Perryman, who finished with eight kills and five blocks, and will attend the University of San Diego where he’ll play club volleyball. “I know that it takes the whole team, but I think I could have contributed more.”
Perryman was rightfully downcast after the match, realizing that in three varsity seasons, he’s failed to knock off his arch rival. “I’ve never beaten Burroughs,” he lamented. “I’ve never taken a match from them.”
The momentum swung in favor of the Indians, who knotted it at 12-12 in the opener on senior outside hitter Cole Wantland’s ace. Burroughs then scored the next seven points and led, 19-12, on Carter’s block.
Showing spirit and determination, Burbank outscored the Indians, 8-6, but it wasn’t enough as Dalmada added a tapper that gave Burroughs the initial game.
“I thought we played really well in both sets,” Burbank coach Patrick McMenamin said. “We stuck to our game plan which was to contain their outside hitters, but when Burroughs is clicking, they’re tough to stop.”
Burroughs dashed in front 4-2 in the third game on Capili’s ace, and moved ahead 11-7 on Carter’s kill. A 4-2 spurt made it 15-9 on Carter’s and Van Loo’s co-block.
Chamberlain’s kill pushed the Indians in front, 17-11, and eventually seized control as the Bulldogs fell behind 22-13 when O’Brien’s bullet sailed out of bounds.
Burroughs inched closer and led 23-14 on Capili’s kill and 24-14 on Carter’s rocket, before taking the final point for a one-game advantage.
The Indians have three matches left including league battles on April 30 at second-place Crescenta Valley and May 5 at Claremont, while the Bulldogs have three matches including home games against Crescenta Valley on April 28 and Glendale on May 5.