Tag Archives: Lydia Grote

Burroughs Girls Volleyball Tested By Rival Burbank, Victorious In Four Sets

By Rick Assad

With nearly two sets completed, the Burroughs High girls’ volleyball team had its back against the wall against longtime rival Burbank.

The Bulldogs were ahead 24-21 in the second set and one more point would give the visitors a two games to none lead in this Pacific League match.

Quicker than a blink of an eye, the Indians rallied and tallied five straight points and evened it at one set each and then took the next two games for a 15-25, 26-24, 25-16, 25-10 triumph on Thursday night and capped the league undefeated.

Catie Virtue is seen digging a ball for Burroughs, which held off Burbank in four sets. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Two days earlier, Burroughs claimed their third consecutive league banner and now await this weekend’s pairings and seedings from the CIF Southern Section.

“We don’t give up, that’s for sure,” longtime Burroughs coach Edwin Real said. “We’ve come back against teams this year, so we’ve been there. We weren’t panicked.”

What did Real tell the team after losing the first set? “I told them we’re going to be just fine. Just stay calm and composed,” he said.

Burroughs (18-5 and 14-0 in league) sprinted to a 5-3 lead on a kill from senior middle blocker Camila Sanchez-Tellez.

“It feels great. It was on our whiteboard. We could have very easily said we won the league at 13-1, but the girls wanted to go undefeated,” Real said of Thursday’s motivation.

The Bulldogs are about to return the ball to the Indians’ side. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank (13-16 and 8-6 for fourth place in league) evened it at 7-7 on a service ace from senior setter Ashley Eskander.

“I think we just got a little bit in our heads,” said Eskander, who finished with 27 assists, nine digs, seven kills and five aces. “I think the crowd kind of just got to us and we made silly mistakes, and they came out strong and they just pushed us.”

Eskander continued: “I think we came out stronger than we ever did before,” she noted. “And that worked to our advantage. I definitely think we’re in the underdog situation and we have that nothing to lose mentality. We fought and we played our game.”

A push from senior outside hitter Lydia Grote, who had a match-best 23 kills with two blocks, gave the Indians, who have defeated the Bulldogs 10 straight matches, an 11-8 lead.

A kill from sophomore defensive specialist Charlotte Hobson (nine digs and two aces) made it 15-13, but Burbank evened it at 17-17 on a spike from junior opposite hitter Tamryn Betts.

The Indians are ready for the Bulldogs’ serve. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“I thought we were passing pretty well. I thought our swings were in all rhythm and moving the ball around,” Burbank coach Karl Rojo said. “Everything was flowing well as a team in that first set. It was a little heartbreaking losing that second set, but I thought we rolled over any mistakes that we made in the third set.”

The Bulldogs then outscored the Indians 4-1, that included an ace from senior outside hitter Katie Treadway.

“When I see everyone giving 100 percent effort, even of we make little mistakes, honestly, it’s fulfilling and I feel proud of my team and it feels good,” said Treadway, who ended the match with 13 digs, six kills and three aces. “Sometimes it’s hard to get everyone on the same page and get the same energy. But we try our best to keep everyone engaged, to keep everyone in the game, but sometimes it gets a little messy.”

Treadway’s bullet made it 24-21, but Burroughs went on a 5-0 blitz with junior outside hitter Catie Virtue (eight kills) collecting three spikes while sophomore middle blocker Bella Lomet added a kill and a block that sealed the set.

The first set was tied 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, but the Bulldogs marched in front 9-5 on Treadway’s kill.

Another laser from Treadway pushed the lead to 14-6 and a blast from junior middle blocker Bianca Hudson (five kills) made it 16-8.

Katie Treadway finished with 13 digs and six kills for Burbank. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Senior middle blocker Leah Tawil (six kills with two blocks) added a dagger as the Bulldogs led 18-10 and it became 22-13 on a push from Eskander.

Treadway’s bullet made it 23-15 and when Grote’s ball sailed out of bounds, Burbank led 24-15. Grote’s swing then hit the net for the final point.

Like the initial frame, the third set was tight early with the score being knotted 1-1, 2-2 and 3-3 before the Indians seized control 7-5 on a stuff from junior outside hitter Camila Palma.

A tapper from Virtue made it 10-7 as the Bulldogs needed time out. Virtue’s back-to-back kills made it 12-9.

Grote’s tapper pushed the margin to 15-12 and four kills and a block by Grote made it 22-13. Grote’s kill gave the Indians a 24-14 lead and an errant serve secured the set.

The fourth set was runaway from the outset as the Indians led 8-1 on Grote’s stuff. A kill from sophomore setter Meagan Lynch made it 11-2.

Virtue’s spike saw the Indians dart ahead 16-4 and Palma’s winner made it 18-4 as the Bulldogs needed time.

Palma’s kill extended Burroughs’ lead to 19-7 and Grote’s kill made it 21-8. Another kill from Grote gave the Indians a 23-9 edge and a kill from senior opposite hitter Joelle Burras delivered Burroughs the set and match with an ace.

Senior libero/defensive specialist Morgan Bolger contributed 11 digs for the Bulldogs.

Burroughs Girls Volleyball Defeats Arcadia, Wins Pacific League Title

By Rick Assad

In the athletic arena, nothing is ever given, but rather it’s earned, and for the third consecutive season, the Burroughs High girls’ volleyball team claimed the Pacific League championship.

The scores were 25-15, 25-20, 25-22 over visiting Arcadia on Tuesday afternoon, and now the Indians will prepare for a second and final meeting when hosting Burbank on Thursday night at 6 p.m.

This weekend, the CIF Southern Section will announce its pairings and seedings for the following week’s playoff matches and Burroughs should receive a first-round home match.

Lydia Grote finished with 12 kills in a victory over Arcadia. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

What it boiled down for Burroughs these three years of league dominance is talent, hard work in practice and being able to mesh together as a team during the games.

“Our players, from beginning to the end on the bench, we have good players. We can inter-change them and move them around and it’s very helpful,” Burroughs coach Edwin Real said of his squad. “It really helps out in practice. In practice we can push each other and reach a higher level and then when it comes to game time, we can mix kids and it makes it real easy.”

Real, in his 16th season at the Indians leader, added: “Passing was better,” he pointed out. “Even at times when  we struggled, we still kept composed. We just trust each other that we’re going to get the job done.”

The Apaches (20-11 and 10-3 in league) can finish tied for second place with a victory at home against Crescenta Valley on Thursday.

Senior setter Milana Abrahamian passing the ball during a sweep over the Apaches. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burroughs’ top offensive stars were on the money as they combined for 34 kills.

Senior outside hitter Lydia Grote and junior outside hitter Catie Virtue each tallied 12 kills, while senior middle blocker Camila Sanchez-Tellez added 10.

The early portion of the initial set was extremely close and it included being deadlocked at 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 5-5 and 6-6 before the Indians surged in front 7-6 on a hitting error by the Apaches, who brought up two players from the junior varsity.

Burroughs (16-5 and 13-0 in league) then pulled in front 10-8 on Grote’s kill and led 12-8 on sophomore middle blocker Bella Lomet’s spike as Arcadia asked for time.

The Indians’ advantage became 14-10 on Grote’s winner and 16-10 on a laser from senior opposite hitter Joelle Burras.

Charlotte Hobson digging one out in a match versus Arcadia, which clinched a third straight Pacific League title for the Indians. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Back-to-back service aces from Burroughs senior setter Milana Abrahamian made it 18-10 as the Apaches requested a break in the action.

“Serving tough is definitely something that a team needs and I feel like when you get a big lead, it’s good for the whole team and keeps the energy alive,” she said.

Abrahamian spoke about the upcoming postseason and hopefully advancing to the title match.

“It’s definitely a goal we have this season,” she said. “We’re trying to get past quarterfinals and we want to make it to the top. Our whole team wants that. If we’re all on our game, we can make it all the way. If we just play our game, we’re unstoppable.”

Virtue’s kill made it 20-11 and Sanchez-Tellez’s winner saw the Indians sprint ahead 22-13.

Two at the net ready for a stuff for Burroughs. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“I really think our wins are a team effort,” Virtue said. “So whatever I can contribute, I’m happy to contribute. Lydia can come in with all these numbers and it’s all great. I can come in with all these numbers and it’s all great, but either way we all support each other as a team.”

Virtue’s two consecutive kills made it 24-14 and when Arcadia junior Angela Zhou’s attempt hit the net, the Indians won the opening frame.

The second stanza began with the Apaches taking a 4-1 lead on a tapper from junior Alexandra Bierotte.

Arcadia’s advantage swelled to 9-5 on a kill senior Shayli Johnson. Burroughs chopped the advantage to 12-10 on Grote’s winner and evened it at 13-13 on an ace from junior defensive specialist Lily Rogers.

When Virtue added a kill, the Indians darted ahead 15-13 as the Apaches needed time to gather their thoughts.

Camila Sanchez-Tellez contributed 10 kills for the Indians. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Virtue said she has high hopes for the playoffs.

“I really think what’s different about this year is we don’t really rely on just one player,” she said. “We spread out whoever is bringing in a lot of points. Our defense is very consistent on top of really very skilled hitters. The fact that we’re really well-rounded makes us probably one of the best teams in the program.”

Virtue went on: “No matter what happens we’re going out swinging. We’re going to fight to the end and I really think we can get a ring,” she said.

Consecutive aces by Rogers made it 17-13 and a push from Virtue shoved the Indians ahead 20-16.

A co-stuff by Virtue and junior outside hitter Mariah Bowman made it 21-17. A kill from junior middle blocker Emily Caneday saw the Apaches seek a time out as the lead ballooned to 23-19.

Virtue’s kill made it 24-19 and Virtue’s service ace had the Indians knocking on the door at 24-20. Grote’s kill was the set-clincher.

In the third and final set, Arcadia dominated the early action as the Apaches led 5-1 on a block from senior Monet Latunde and were ahead 9-4 on an ace from senior Cate Ruiz.

“I think the losses were really good for us just because we’re a young team. So a lot of the kids are going to come back next year,” Arcadia first-year coach Stephen Bernabe said. “So this is more about growth in the bigger picture. For a team like Burroughs, with a lot of seniors who can put the ball down, it’s good for me to see our youth be able to pass the ball back up, rally, and even though we lost in three, our scores kept on getting better, so I know that the kids are reading better.”

Burroughs came within 14-11 on a blast from Grote as Arcadia asked for another stoppage in time. The Indians outscored the Apaches 7-4 and evened it at 18-18 on Virtue’s kill.

It was knotted at 19-19 on Virtue’s spike, but Arcadia then surged ahead 20-19 on Johnson’s rocket.

Arcadia sophomore Ashley Marrone played well. “Last year we lost all of our seniors who were really tall, so we kind of turned out to be a little shorter,” she said. “Some things I like about this team are we strive to be better, we have high energy, we keep each other up and we have great sportsmanship.”

Marrone added: “Today I felt we did really great, but there were some things we could have fixed like our passing,” she noted. “We were kind of lazy about that. For future teams I do think we’re going to be improved.”

Sophomore setter Meghan Lynch tossed in a push for the Indians that tied it at 20-20 and Virtue’s kill evened it at 21-21.

When Johnson’s swing hit the net, Burroughs led 22-21 as Arcadia requested a time out.

Virtue’s mishit leveled it at 22-22, but Grote scored the next three points with a kill, a block and a kill for the set and match.

Burroughs Girls Volleyball Drops First Set, Wins Next Three Versus Crescenta Valley

By Rick Assad

Before the second set began, Burroughs High outside hitter Lydia Grote went over and gave a high five and said words of encouragement to the other five teammates on the court.

Though the Indians were down a game, this wasn’t something that Grote was overly concerned with, but still wanted to inspire her team and exhibit leadership.

Meagan Lynch is about to serve in a four-set win over visiting Crescenta Valley. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Looking back, this small gesture by Grote may have ignited the comeback by Burroughs over visiting Crescenta Valley in a Pacific League showdown as it went on a took the next three sets and captured a 20-25, 25-20, 25-8, 25-10 decision in a girls’ volleyball match on Tuesday.

With a victory over Muir at home on Thursday, Burroughs will have secured at least a share of yet another league banner.

The second set commenced with a co-stuff from Burroughs sophomore middle blocker Bella Lomet and Grote that made it 5-1.

“On the first set it was anyone’s game. It wasn’t our game, but it also wasn’t their game,” said Grote, a senior who will attend and play women’s volleyball for UC Berkeley and who had a match-best 14 kills with two blocks.

“We were just here to play and we really had to think about what we have to do to play better on our side of the court,” Grote added. “We can’t control their side of the court.”

Camila Sanchez-Tellez (No. 5) is about to try and block an attempt against the Falcons. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Junior outside hitter Catie Virtue’s spike made it 8-3 and when Virtue (11 kills) added another winner, Burroughs’ lead ballooned to 13-8.

A laser from senior middle blocker Camila Sanchez-Tellez (11 kills) made it 15-10.

Grote’s kill pushed Burroughs’ cushion to 18-15.

Virtue’s dagger made it 20-17 and Sanchez-Tellez’s kill gave the Indians a 22-18 lead.

“We were very inconsistent. It’s frustrating,” Burroughs coach Edwin Real said of the initial set, which could have gone either way. “Communication was not very good for us. Actually it was very poor. When you play well, you communicate better.”

A jam from Sanchez-Tellez handed the Indians a 23-19 advantage and a service ace from Virtue saw Burroughs extend its lead to 24-19. Sanchez-Tellez’s missile was the set-winner and evened it at one game each.

Sanchez-Tellez’s kill in the third set delivered Burroughs a 2-0 lead and Grote’s string of three kills pushed the margin to 7-5.

It’s a meeting at the summit when Burroughs faces Crescenta Valley. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

A co-stuff from junior defensive specialist Lily Rogers (five aces) and Lomet made it 10-6 as Crescenta Valley, which is tied with Arcadia for second place in league, asked for time.

A service winner from Rogers saw the Indians race to a 12-6 lead and a tapper from sophomore setter Meagan Lynch pushed it to 14-7 as the Falcons (32-10 and 9-2 in league) once again requested time out.

Sanchez-Tellez’s kill then increased the lead for Burroughs to 18-7 and Virtue’s spike made it 21-7.

Virtue’s sledge hammer made it 24-8 and junior outside hitter Mariah Bowman’s spike sealed the game.

In the fourth set, the Indians bolted out to a 4-2 lead on Grote’s kill. Lomet’s sizzler made it 6-3 and Sanchez-Tellez’s tapper increased the edge to 11-6 as the Falcons needed yet another respite.

The Indians rallied to claim the last three sets and won the match. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Sanchez-Tellez’s tapper and kill shoved the Indians in front 13-9 and Virtue’s smash made it 18-10.

The Indians (14-4 and 11-0 in league) then scored the next seven points that included an ace from Virtue that made it 21-10 and Virtue’s service winner that clinched the set and match.

The initial set was even at 1-1, 2-2 and 3-3 before the Falcons emerged with an 8-3 lead on a kill from senior outside hitter Lizzy Kerman.

But the Indians responded and evened it up at 10-10 on an ace from sophomore defensive specialist Charlotte Hobson (five aces).

Crescenta Valley surged in front 15-11 on an ace from sophomore setter Sydney Postelwaite, however, a kill from Virtue sliced the lead to 16-12.

When Virtue’s ball sailed out of bounds, the Falcons led 2-14 as the Indians asked for a halt in the action.

“We really struggled to pass all night and when you can’t pass, it’s tough to do anything else,” Crescenta Valley coach Matt Simons said. “The girls, they’re amped up for this game. They know Burroughs is the league champs and in first place.”

Simons continued: “When things didn’t go our way, it was really tough to dig ourselves out of that hole,” he explained. “We weren’t in the best mental state all night. When Burroughs struggled in game one, they had the same positive minds all the way through. When we struggled, which we’re bound to do in a close match, we almost tried to press harder and harder. Mentally we dug ourselves more of a hole.”

A spike from junior outside hitter Jamie Santos (seven kills) made it 22-16 in favor of the Falcons.

A tapper from Kerman (team-best 12 kills with seven digs and two aces) had Crescenta Valley ahead 24-17 and a joint-block from senior setter/opposite hitter Isabella Doom and senior middle blocker Ellie Song (five kills) sewed up the set.

Burroughs Girls Volleyball Requires Three Sets Versus Host Burbank

By Rick Assad

It was extremely loud and it was pretty much jammed-packed with excited fans on both sides of the gymnasium when the Burbank High girls’ volleyball team hosted rival Burroughs on Tuesday night.

In slightly more than an hour, much of the yelling subsided on the Bulldogs’ side as the Indians took matters in their own hands and eventually pulled out a three-set sweep of pesky Burbank, winning 25-15, 25-17, 25-17 in a Pacific League match.

Digging balls are crucial because it keeps the play alive and allows an opportunity to score. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

It seemed no one could handle senior outside hitter Lydia Grote, who finished with a match-high 20 kills, and her dominance began in the first game.

“What we try to focus on, especially in matches like these, is that we just focus on our side of the court and our bench and our cheers and we focus on what we can do before the game,” said Grote, who will be attending the University of California at Berkeley, where she will play on the women’s volleyball team. “We can’t focus on what other people are doing. What the outside factors are. We have to focus on our benefits and what we do best.”

Grote scored two of the first three points for the Indians, who moved ahead 3-0. When Grote picked up four kills, Burroughs (10-4 and 7-0 in league) forged a 6-2 edge. Grote’s winner made it 8-2 and forced the Bulldogs (8-10 and 4-3 in league) to ask for time out.

Is this the best Grote’s played this season? “I’d say it’s up there,” she noted. “I’d say Arcadia and this game were my best, but as a team, the last two games have been crucial for us.”

Burroughs sophomore middle blocker Bella Lomet rises and is about to add a spike in a match against the Bulldogs. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Grote’s spike made it 9-3 and another kill by Grote handed the Indians a 10-4 advantage.

Burroughs senior middle blocker Camila Sanchez-Tellez’s kill pushed the lead to 11-6.

Grote’s tapper made it 16-8 and junior middle blocker Emily Caneday’s push saw the Indians lead 20-10.

Is this the best Burroughs team Grote’s played on?

“I have to say every team that I’ve played on has their benefits,” she said, “but I’d say this is the strongest team I’ve played on at Burroughs. We’re just very adjustable. Whoever is on the court, maintain a high level of play.”

Junior outside hitter Catie Virtue’s spike made it 23-12, but consecutive aces from Burbank senior setter Ashley Eskander trimmed the lead to 24-15. Eskander’s errant serve gave Burroughs the initial set.

Burroughs did a great job setting up its hitters, including Lydia Grote, who had a match-best 20 kills. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“We just try and slow the game down as much as we can,” Eskander said of playing against Burroughs. “Take every point, point-by-point and go from there. We try to not get too far in our heads. Obviously it’s hard, but we just try our best. We try to remain calm.”

Early in the second game, Burbank jumped ahead 3-1 on a kill from senior outside hitter Katie Treadway, who had four kills and nine digs.

Grote’s laser evened it at 3-3 and the lead ballooned to 6-4 on another kill from Grote. Sophomore setter Meagan Lynch’s winner gave the Indians an 8-6 cushion.

Burbank then rallied and seized a 12-11 advantage on a service winner from Eskander.

Katie Treadway delivered four kills and nine digs for the Bulldogs in a match with the Indians. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“We can always work on our defense,” said Eskander, who had 15 assists, eight digs, six kills and six aces of what the team needs to do better. “Definitely more consistent on serving, but I think our offense needs to step it up a bit. Just play hard.”

When Burroughs senior defensive specialist Natalie Hooper added an ace, the Indians bolted ahead 14-12.

It became 15-13 on Grote’s kill and senior setter Milana Abrahamian’s service ace made it 18-13 as the Bulldogs requested time.

A kill from senior opposite hitter Joelle Burras saw the Indians dash ahead 21-16 and a spike from Grote was the set winner.

The Indians took control of the third set 5-2 on an ace from junior defensive specialist Reese Coblentz.

Burbank’s Bianca Hudson rises to the occasion. The junior middle blocker had two blocks and a kill. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

An ace from Burbank senior setter Kassandra Gonzalez trimmed the lead to 8-6.

When Eskander added her potent, super-quick push, the Bulldogs bulled ahead 9-8.

“This year, there’s an emphasis to treat every game the same. Maybe they were a little amped up because it’s a crosstown game,” Burbank coach Karl Rojo said about the longtime rival. “We try to treat it like a regular match.”

Rojo spoke about some of the problems. “The unforced errors definitely did not help out at all,” he said. “It killed our momentum when we had good momentum. Like serving into the net when we get a good kill. That should not be happening with our team. The unforced errors like the communication errors when the ball drops in between players. That should not be happening.”

A block from Sanchez-Tellez gave the Indians an 11-9 lead and Grote’s kill made it 14-11.

Back-to-back aces from Eskander evened the set at 14-14, but Grote’s kill made it 18-14 and another winner from Grote pushed the lead to 21-15.

Virtue’s kill made it 23-17, Virtue’s tapper saw the Indians inch ahead 24-17 and a block from Sanchez-Tellez sealed the set and match.

Senior defensive specialist/libero Morgan Bolger added nine digs with an ace, junior opposite hitter Tamryn Betts tossed in three kills, junior middle blocker Bianca Hudson had two blocks and one kill and junior sophomore libero/defensive specialist Makalya Kim contributed two digs for the Bulldogs.

Burbank will conclude its regular-season schedule with a visit to Burroughs on October 17.

Burbank, Burroughs Girls Volleyball Poised For Success

By Rick Assad

 

Getting to and then advancing deep into the CIF Southern Section playoffs is always a top priority for any coach.

This being the case, it’s crucial for the team to do extremely well in the Pacific League because this is how the selection committee places seeds the squads in the postseason.

So for the Burroughs High and Burbank girls’ volleyball teams, each wants to finish as high as possible in the league standings.

The Burbank girls volleyball team in a recent practice. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Indians, who are coming off a 27-8 overall season and a 13-1 mark in league for a share of the title, always have high expectations.

Longtime Burroughs Coach Edwin Real is optimistic.

“We’re expecting to be competitive,” he said of the league season. “We have some kids who are somewhat younger and we lost several really good players to graduation and we’re trying to get better in those positions.”

A season ago, the Indians advanced to the Division III quarterfinals where they lost to eventual champion Village Christian in five tough sets.

This campaign, Burroughs is 2-1, having beaten Downey and Harvard-Westlake, but losing in five sets to Cypress, in tournament matches, which required three sets in order to determine a winner and not the customary two.

The Indians will pay a visit to Burbank on September 24 and then host the rival Bulldogs on October 17.

Spearheading the Indians will be senior outside hitter Lydia Grote, who has verbally committed to play volleyball for the University of California at Berkeley.

Grote’s older sister, Marin, is a sophomore on the University of Washington women’s volleyball team, and before that was a key cog and four-year starter for Burroughs.

Burroughs, which lost to Village Christian in a CIF quarterfinal match in 2018, is going to be one of the favorites to win the Pacific League. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Also key for the Indians will be junior defensive specialist Lily Rogers, who will be a floor leader and an important contributor.

Junior outside hitter Catie Virtue will also be asked to lead the troops, while senior middle blocker Camila Sanchez-Tellez as well as two sophomores, setter Meagan Lynch and defensive specialist Charlotte Hobson, will be vital if Burroughs is to go far, according to Real.

There are several other upperclassmen who will also have a significant hand in the team’s success and they are opposite hitter Joelle Burras, setter Milana Abrahamian and defensive specialist Natalie Hooper.

The rest of the team includes junior middle blocker Emily Caneday, junior outside hitter Camila Palma, junior outside hitter Mariah Bowman and junior defensive specialist Reese Coblentz.

Being in tip-top shape is always a key to winning. Here the Bulldog girls’ volleyball team is racing down the floor. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Rounding out the Indians’ squad will be sophomore defensive specialist Kylie Colton and middle blocker Bella Lomet.

This is Karl Rojo’s fifth season as Burbank’s coach and in the four previous campaigns, saw his squad make the postseason.

“I believe it’s going to be a good season, almost similar to the one before and maybe better than that,” Rojo said. “With the core that we have, they’re pretty experienced and with the young core that we have, they’re learning a lot from the experienced players. It’s working out pretty fine. They’re working hard each day and that’s all I can ask from them.”

Rojo then added: “They’re improving. It could be small improvement. It could be big improvement, but they’re improving,” he said.

Rojo said he likes the attitude of this squad. “They’re all good teammates towards each other,” he said. “But I think it’s drama-free. Not as much drama. It’s going to be positive.”

Burbank posted a 14-16 record and a 9-5 mark in league, but Rojo would like to see definite improvement on those numbers.

Lydia Grote, a senior outside hitter for the Indians, will be one of many weapons. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“I see us making a big statement in the Pacific League,” he said. “I think we should finish in the top three. But we have a lot of competitive teams. I think we’ll proceed past the first round this year.”

There is enough talent to reach the playoffs according to Rojo and several mainstays will have to play well.

The Bulldogs are 1-3 this season with a sweep over visiting Chatsworth and losses to visiting Providence in four sets, a four-game loss at Saugus and a three-set defeat at Calabasas.

Burbank was swept over three games in a Division IV wildcard match in 2018 against host Calabasas.

Burbank’s top-shelf players are senior outside hitter Katie Treadway, senior libero/defensive specialist Morgan Bolger, senior middle blocker Leah Tawil, senior setter Ashley Eskander, junior middle blocker Bianca Hudson and junior libero Mikayla Kim.

Also expected to contribute for the Bulldogs will be senior setter Kassandra Gonzalez, senior middle blocker/opposite hitter Ava Danesh, senior outside hitter Brandice Hibbard and senior opposite hitter/setter Andrea Paun.

The remainder of the team includes junior opposite hitter Tamryn Betts, sophomore outside hitter Alaina Melgar and sophomore middle blocker/opposite hitter Gabriella Damroze.

Grote And Jensen Verbally Commit To Play Volleyball At UC Berkeley

By Rick Assad

 

Who would have thought that two longtime friends, living in the same city, playing the same sport, but for different high schools, would both verbally commit to the same university?

It’s a longshot, for sure, but that’s exactly what happened to Lydia Grote, who attends Burroughs High and Kendall Jensen, who is at Village Christian School, as the pair will play volleyball for UC Berkeley.

Of course when these two first met they weren’t thinking about which college they would attend.

They were buddies, having fun and enjoying their childhood. Now that’s in the past as both will be seniors in the fall.

How did these two meet? Sometimes stories differ greatly, some slightly, but not this time.

Lydia Grote (on the left) and Kendall Jensen are longtime friends and have committed verbally to play volleyball at UC Berkeley. (Photo courtesy of Paul Grote).

“I was six years old when I met Kendall,” said Grote, a 6-foot-2 middle hitter/outside hitter. “I met Kendall at Roosevelt Elementary School at my sister Marin’s first basketball practice for her team the Fireballs. Kendall was sitting in a tree, and I remember thinking that I had never climbed a tree before, and then she climbed down and showed me how to climb a tree.”

Grote went on: “Then once I finally got up into the tree, she introduced herself, and then about a month later I joined her softball team, the Fireflies, and from then on we played on all the same softball, volleyball and basketball Parks and Rec teams,” she said.

Here’s Jensen’s version. “Lydia met me when we were in the second grade at our older sisters’ basketball practice,” said the 5-8 setter. “At that age I was very adventurous and decided to climb a tree out of boredom and soon after I did, Lydia saw me and decided to join me.”

Jensen continued: “After that we started going to all their practices and games to hang out and we’ve been friends ever since. We’ve also been playing sports together since second grade through the City of Burbank. We’ve played basketball, softball and volleyball together for a long time.”

Grote’s older sister, Marin, was a two-sport standout for Burroughs where she played basketball and volleyball.

“Both Lydia and Kendall are phenomenal athletes and girls who have grown up playing together on and off the court,” she said. “Seeing these two girls, my sister and my best friend’s sister, work hard to get to be such high level athletes on a top volleyball team in the nation and then both were considered underdogs for recruiting and both go to a Division I and Pacific 12 school is truly an inspirational story.”

Kendall’s older sister, Payton, attended Burroughs for two years and played volleyball before transferring to Village Christian.

Grote just concluded her freshman year playing on the women’s volleyball team at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Grote rises to score a point while Jensen tries to block the attempt in a CIF Southern Section playoff match. (Photo courtesy of Paul Grote)

Are Lydia and Kendall alike on the floor? “On the volleyball court, Kendall and I have very similar personalities,” said Grote, who plans on majoring in biology or biochemistry. “We both are going to work our hardest and we are both always going to do whatever we can to help our team.”

Jensen, who may major in art, would agree. “I like to think I’m similar on the court and off the court,” she said. “I’ve always been pretty competitive growing up with three other sisters who all play sports which is evident on the court. I also like to think that I’m energetic on the court and I think my friends would agree that I’m pretty energetic off the court as well. However, during games I can get pretty into it and pretty intense. I like to think I’m not that intense off the court.”

Burroughs and Village Christian both have excellent girls’ volleyball programs and are perennial powers in their respective leagues.

Was there ever a thought of the two playing on the same prep team?

“It would have been a ton of fun to play on the same high school team, but I do not want to leave Burroughs, and she does not want to leave Village Christian,” said Grote, who has helped the Indians qualify for the playoffs all three seasons she’s been there.

Jensen thinks it would have been exciting, but it didn’t work out. “I wish Lydia played for Village so bad,” she said. “I’ve been trying to get her to come to Village for a while now and I’m still trying. We have such a good connection on and off the court and she would be a huge asset to the team if she transferred.”

Last season the Indians and Crusaders actually met in the CIF Southern Section quarterfinals.

Jensen is about to set for a teammate while Grote skies to stuff the point. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

As expected, the match went five sets with Village Christian, which has also qualified for the postseason all three campaigns that Jensen’s been on the team, pulled out the victory.

“The highlight of my career was definitely the CIF volleyball game against Village Christian because Burroughs played better than we ever had before and every person on our team had the same goal and mindset and we were all so passionate about the game,” Grote said.

Jensen remembers that match fondly. “We played this past season in the CIF quarterfinals. We won in five, but it was so fun,” she said. “We had so many people come out and they brought so many people as well so the energy in the gym was just insane. That win was one of the best wins ever especially because that was probably one of toughest matches.”

Jensen and Grote in their soccer attire are ready for a match. (Photo courtesy of Paul Grote).

What makes volleyball so much fun? “The thing I love most about volleyball is the competition, the constant fight in the game and the team camaraderie,” Grote said. “I love that everyone always works hard to be the best they can be and that volleyball is a very clean sport, meaning teams are always respectful to each other and nobody tries to undermine the game and everyone is always honest about calls.”

Jensen likes volleyball’s intensity and high energy.

“Volleyball is such a fast and intellectual sport that always keeps you engaged,” she noted. “I also love the team aspect of it and being able to play with some of my best friends.”

Grote and Jensen have both been team leaders for their teams.

“I like being considered a leader because it means that your teammates trust you and that you are a reliable player, on and off the court,” Grote said.

Jensen also likes the honor. “I’m the captain for high school and also captain for my club team,” she said.

Grote and Jensen are very good athletes with the potential to excel at multiple sports, but each has chosen to stick with volleyball.

“I liked playing multiple sports when I was younger, and I have had the opportunity to play basketball at Burroughs,” Grote said. “but volleyball is my passion and it is where I want to be.”

Jensen echoed the same sentiment. “I don’t play any other sports other than beach volleyball which is pretty similar though,” she said. “I grew up playing softball, basketball and swimming. I do wish I never stopped playing some of them around the seventh and eighth grade. I decided that I really wanted to pursue volleyball and play in college. It just got hard juggling so many sports.”

Everyone needs assistance, and Grote and Jensen both received their share in order to get to this position.

“The most helpful people in my volleyball career have been my parents, my sister Marin and my club director and my current club coach, Kenji Mukai,” Grote said. “My parents have always supported me in volleyball and have made it possible for me to be who I am today. My sister Marin always made me a better player and she is also my best friend. My club director, Kenji Mukai, has always believed in what I can do and has always given me opportunities and chances to get better.”

Jensen also has support. “My parents, who got me into the sport have helped me so much and I’m so grateful for that, but also my coaches,” Jensen said. “Brent Asuka has helped me so much as well as Jimmy Lo. I also want to thank Lisa Steenport who was my coach from 11s-13s. She was the one who encouraged me to try setting in 13s and without that encouragement and insight I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

A Look Back at the Best of 2018

The 2018 year in sports in Burbank was not the best, nor the worst on record. The best individual performances were in track and field, as Burroughs Jagdeep Chahal was the CIF Southern Section Division 1 champion in the boys 1,600 meters. Elizabeth Switzer led the Burroughs girls’ track team by qualifying for the state championships in the pole vault. Burroughs golfer Kiara Hernandez was also outstanding in being the best in the Pacific League. The following is a look back at the best teams that Burbank and Burroughs highs put forth in 2018.

10. Burroughs boys soccer
The Indians went 15-9-1 in 2018 and finished second in the Pacific League with a young core that was made up mostly of sophomores.
Carlos Rosales led the midfield and Carter Wells became the heart of the defense. Freshman Manny Gonzalez scored 16 goals, a program record under coach Mike Kodama. This group will get only better in 2019 and 2020.
9. Burroughs softball
The Indians finished runner-up to Crescenta Valley in the Pacific League standings. But Burroughs once again put together a solid season, finishing with a 14-5-1 record and advancing to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs. Pitcher Presley Miraglia moved to play at Cal State Long Beach.
8. Burroughs girls soccer
The Indians had a stellar season going 15-3-3 overall to place second in league. Burroughs won its first CIF Southern Section playoff game since 2009 with a wild-card victory over Brentwood School. Freshman Lauryn Bailey and junior Abbie Riggs were two of the Indians’ key offensive players. Olivia Cashman and Emily McHorney were two other top players.
7. Burroughs girls cross country
The Indians finished second in the Pacific League behind Burbank, ending a domination by Crescenta Valley and or Arcadia, that had won the league title every year for more than a quarter century. Burroughs also went on to advance to the CIF Southern Section finals. Sophomore Jordan Guzman and freshman Sophia Navarro led the way for a team that figures to have created arguably the most competitive rivalry with Burbank High of any in the city.
6. Burbank football
The Bulldogs turned in yet another fine season, even though they lost the league title to Arcadia. Burbank won every game it was expected to win and put together a fine 7-4 campaign. Seniors Matthew Porras, Erik Harutyunyan and Duncan Smith will definitely be remembered for the mark they left at the school and all are projected to play in college.
5. Burroughs girls basketball

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

The Indians turned in another fine season in 2018, finishing with a 23-8 record and a share of the Pacific League title. The team was blessed with a solid freshmen core who are now sophomores, led by Faith Boulanger and Kayla Wrobel. This has consistently been one of the top teams in the city under veteran coach Vicky Oganyan and that doesn’t appear to be changing any time soon.
4. Burbank boys track and field

The Bulldogs captured the Pacific League dual meet title in coach Darin Wolf’s final season. Burbank counted on hurdler Sergio Aguilar, as well as a solid sprint crew led by Cole Le’au, Oladele Hospidales and Bryan David. Victor Goli led a deep and young distance running core.
3. Burroughs girls volleyball

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

The Indians had an outstanding season under coach Edwin Real. capturing the Pacific League title. Burroughs went 27-9 and reached the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section 3 playoffs, narrowly losing to eventual CIF champion Village Christian in five games. Juliana Van Loo went on to earn All-CIF honors. Burroughs figures to be strong again next year with Lydia Grote returning to lead the way.
2. Burroughs boys volleyball

Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

The Indians won their ninth consecutive Pacific League title under coach Joel Brinton. Burroughs also advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs, only to be eliminated by national power Loyola of Los Angeles. Diego Rosal and Cole Kaitz were the leaders for Burroughs.

1. Burbank girls cross country

Sol Fernandez

The Bulldogs won their first league title outright since 1978 and advanced to the CIF Finals, finishing 10th in Division 1. Burbank was led by senior Shalom Mejia and junior Sol Fernandez. Although this was an experienced group that will lose several top runners to graduation, there is a great group coming up replace those that will depart. Expect Burbank to be very strong again in 2019.

Burroughs Girls Volleyball Stopped by Village Christian

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Playing in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section playoffs for the third time in four years, the Burroughs High girls’ volleyball team has certainly set the bar high as a program.

But getting to the semifinal is something the Indians have not done and were looking to do Wednesday night.

At times it looked like the Indians were ready for an upset. In the end, it didn’t happen as top-seeded Village Christian of Sun Valley outlasted the Indians 25-17, 21-25, 22-25, 25-15, 15-11 in a CIF Division 3 contest.

Burroughs coach Edwin Real said he didn’t want his players to have any pressure.

“At the end of the day we were just having fun,” Real said. “We didn’t even talk about that they were the number one seed.”

In the fifth and deciding game, Village Christian jumped out to an early lead.

Sophomore Catie Virtue had a kill to cut the deficit to 8-6.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

But the host Crusaders (33-9), which have four players who live in Burbank, would not be denied.

Village star Mackenzie Jensen had five kills in the final game alone.

“We played well in the third game. The ball control was good. We were aggressive with our swings,” Real said. “They (Village) served a little better. We were making too many saves. We were running all over the gym. We made some weird decisions that we don’t normally make.”

Burroughs (27-9) received a fine effort from Juliana Van Loo, who finished with 19 kills. Lydia Grote had 15 kills for the Indians.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

The duo helped Burroughs rally from an 11-6 deficit in the second game to turn the match around.

Van Loo had a pair of kills and Burroughs received a key ace from Caitlin Lim.

Burroughs fell behind 11-6 in the third, before storming back to take a 15-12 lead and eventually winning 25-22.

The Indians and Crusaders were tied at 10 in the fourth game when Burroughs went into a slump and was unable to recover.

Burroughs Girls Volleyball CIF Playoff Run Starts Off Well

By Rick Assad

 

For roughly three quarters of Thursday night’s CIF Southern Section Division III first-round playoff match, the Burroughs High girls’ volleyball team pretty much dominated visiting University.

The four-setter was claimed by the Indians 25-17, 22-25, 25-18, 27-25, but it could easily have spilled over to a fifth game.

The fourth set was a classic and knotted at 25-25, and it eventually boiled down to the final two points.

“We had trouble getting the ball to the setter. Once we got the ball to the setter, our hitters are pretty hard to stop,” Burroughs coach Edwin Real said.

Lydia Grote serves in a four-set CIF playoff win over University. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Junior outside hitter Lydia Grote collected both points to secure the win and a second-round match against Notre Dame Academy on Saturday.

The Indians played Notre Dame Academy and lost in five sets in August.

It will be played at 6 p.m. and the Indians will be the host, but it will be played at Crescenta Valley High because their gym is being used for homecoming.

“We’ve got one day to practice,” Real said of the turnaround. “We’ve played them before in a tournament [Molten Classic] and we’re going to look at that tape.”

The Indians surged ahead 6-1 in the fourth game and led 10-5 on a kill from senior opposite hitter Juliana Van Loo.

Grote’s spike made it 15-10, but consecutive aces from Trojans sophomore outside hitter Kiana Zarghalami cut the lead to 15-14 and Grote’s hitting error evened it at 15-15.

“In the first set I thought we were all there,” said Grote, who had a match-best 25 kills. “We were all ready. In the second set we kind of let that drop. Took it for granted. In the third set we pulled it back together again.”

Shea McGovern is about to deliver a set in a CIF match against the Trojans. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Grote’s spike tied it at 16-16 and an ace from senior setter Shea McGovern made it 17-16.

Van Loo’s tapper put the Indians in front 18-16 and Grote’s softie pushed it to 19-16.

“We’re definitely happy that we won, but I know and we know that we can play a lot better,” said Van Loo, who added 11 kills. “Going into Saturday we’re going to have to step up our game.”

Van Loo expected the first-rounder to be tough.

“I knew that it would go a fourth or a fifth because they’re a good team,” she said.

Van Loo’s kill shoved Burroughs (25-8 and 13-1 and a tie for first in league) ahead 22-21, but a kill from Trojans junior outside hitter Lily Krongold evened it at 22-22.

It was tied 3-3 in the opening set on Grote’s winner, but the Indians then moved ahead 7-4 on a spike from senior middle blocker Maggie Harris.

“I think we were able to hold it together,” Grote said of the match. “We came together and played together and played like a team. We have to play as one unit.”

Junior middle blocker Camila Sanchez-Tellez returns one across the net against University. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

It became 8-8 on Van Loo’s dagger and 15-10 on a tapper from sophomore outside hitter Catie Virtue.

Grote’s kill made it 17-12 and 20-14 on an ace from senior libero Caitlin Lim.

A service ace from Virtue made it 23-17 and a bullet from Grote gave the Indians the set.

Grote’s kill leveled it at 3-3 in the third frame and Van Loo’s spike evened it at 5-5.

Grote’s dagger made it 9-6 and an ace from sophomore defensive specialist Lily Rogers supplied the Indians with a 13-10 cushion.

Back-to-back aces from McGovern extended the lead to 18-11 and Grote’s kill handed the Indians a 19-14 lead.

A kill from Burroughs sophomore defensive specialist Reese Coblentz made it 20-14 and the Indians sealed it when senior opposite hitter/defensive specialist Jolene Soliman served up an ace.

The Indians jumped to a 3-1 lead in the second set when Van Loo and Harris combined on a block.

An ace from Soliman pushed Burroughs’ lead to 10-5 and an ace from Rogers made it 13-7. A kill from Van Loo made it 15-11 and later 17-17 on a tapper from Van Loo.

University (15-16 and 6-4 for third place in the Pacific Coast League), which is located in Irvine, captured eight of the next 13 points as junior opposite hitter Serena Choi’s kill won the set.

“The experience as far as Burroughs goes, they’ve made the playoffs,” University coach Garry Currier said. “These girls have never been to the playoffs. It’s been nine years and this would have been 10 years. It [the match] could have gone either way.

Burroughs Girls Volleyball Needs Four Sets Against Rival Burbank

By Rick Assad

 

Prior to the Burbank High girls’ volleyball team facing visiting Burroughs on Thursday night in the Pacific League regular-season finale, each had played splendidly over the course of many matches.

The Bulldogs had captured six of seven while the Indians won 11 of 14, so the showdown was expected to be tight.

Though Burroughs prevailed 25-16, 25-21, 21-25, 25-13, Burbank played with enthusiasm, grit and determination, but simply couldn’t overcome Juliana Van Loo and Lydia Grote, who paced the Indians.

Both squads will have its season continue in the CIF Southern Section playoffs which begin next week.

Burbank huddles during a time out in Thursday’s clash with visiting Burroughs. The Indians won in four sets. (Photo by Francesca LaFratta)

Grote opened the fourth set for the Indians, who tied for the league title with Arcadia, by scoring the first four points and the lead then swelled to 7-2 on Van Loo’s spike.

“I tried to make myself really calm,” said Grote, a junior outside hitter who had 14 kills. “I try not to get too over-excited. You don’t engage in the crowd. You don’t engage in other team’s stuff. You just have to focus on your team, your side of the court.”

Another winner from Van Loo made it 11-4 as the Bulldogs (14-15 and 9-5 in league) asked for time out.

Sophomore outside hitter Catie Virtue’s back-to-back spikes then pushed the Indians’ advantage to 13-4.

Van Loo and junior middle blocker Camila Sanchez-Tellez later combined on a block for a 14-4 edge.

Virtue’s dagger made it 16-4 and Van Loo’s winner gave the Indians (23-7 and 13-1 in league) an 18-5 cushion.

Sophomore defensive specialist Lily Rogers added a kill for the Indians, who surged ahead 18-8 and when Grote tossed in a spike, it was 21-10.

“Our motto this year has been road to rings because we want that CIF ring,” Grote said. “I think this is the best team that Burroughs volleyball has ever had. If we play Burroughs volleyball, I think we can do it.”

Senior defensive specialist Ava Cannon’s winner made it 24-13 and Van Loo’s bullet gave the Indians the set and match.

The opening frame was tied at 1-1, 2-2, 5-5, 6-6 and 7-7 before the Indians pulled ahead 14-9 Virtue’s service ace which forced Burbank to ask for time.

Virtue then added an ace that made it 15-9 and Rogers contributed a service winner for a 17-11 cushion.

“We had trouble with the service. Just couldn’t get the ball to the hitters,” Burroughs coach Edwin Real said of the third set. “Shea really started to set a little bit better. I told her to focus on her setting and not so much on her blocking. Just worry about your setting.”

McGovern is a senior setter and the quarterback or point guard on the floor for the Indians.

Senior outside hitter Amaya Broyls (seven kills and 11 digs) then cut the lead to 21-16 with a kill for the Bulldogs.

The Indians claimed the next four points as Virtue added a kill and an ace, Sanchez-Tellez a spike and Broyls hit the ball out of bounds for the set.

“Overall I’m pleased with how the season went,” Real said. “Just that one match against Arcadia was a little dip. We’re a lot better than that now.”

That initial meeting with the Apaches took place on Sept. 11 as the Indians lost in four sets.

Burroughs then bounded ahead 5-2 in the second set after Grote and senior middle blocker Maggie Harris had a combined stuff.

The Bulldogs came within 8-5 on a kill from junior outside hitter Katie Treadway (match-high 17 kills with four aces and 10 digs), but Virtue’s tapper gave the Indians a 9-5 lead.

Burbank moved ahead 13-10 on Treadway’s winner, but it was tied at 13-13 when Rogers served an ace.

Grote’s laser made it 17-14 in favor of the Indians as the Bulldogs asked for play to be halted. An ace from junior middle blocker/opposite hitter Leah Tawil (two kills and two aces) leveled it at 17-17 and then 21-21 on a kill from Broyls.

“We had some good momentum going in,” Burbank coach Karl Rojo said. “I thought our passing was a little bit better. We started executing in the slots we were giving them.”

Rojo said the start in the fourth set made it difficult. “The fourth was tough,” he noted. “They came out with a lot of firepower. We just couldn’t respond back. We need to capitalize on the chances we have, especially our hitters.”

Virtue’s smash made it 22-21 and Van Loo’s kill pushed the lead to 23-21 as the Bulldogs asked for time.

“After Arcadia we knew we had two more games to go,” said senior opposite hitter Van Loo, who finished with a team-best 16 kills. “We’re just going to push for the win. That showed in the first, second and fourth set.”

Van Loo’s service winner made it 24-21 and a mishit from Treadway handed the set to the Indians.

“I think this team is really great,” Van Loo said. “Our passing. Our setting and hitting is consistent. I think we can be even better and we can do well in the playoffs.”

The third game was tied 2-2 on an ace from Treadway and 4-4 on a kill from senior defensive specialist Izzy Sanchez.

Senior middle blocker/opposite hitter Olivia Price (five kills) had a spike that evened it at 6-6, but the Indians dashed ahead 9-6 on a blast from Van Loo.

An ace from senior opposite hitter Jolene Soliman handed the Indians a 12-8 lead as the Bulldogs called for time.

But the Bulldogs outscored the Indians 8-4 and evened it at 16-16 on a kill from junior setter Ashley Eskander (33 assists with seven digs and three aces) as the Indians asked for a stoppage.

Burbank then scooted ahead 18-16 and 19-16 on consecutive service aces from Treadway.

Grote’s tapper cut Burbank’s lead to 19-17, however, the Bulldogs waltzed ahead 24-20 on Treadway’s kill.

Senior libero/defensive specialist Hannah Cericos added eight digs for the Bulldogs.