Tag Archives: Milana Abrahamian

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 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.