First published in the Oct. 1 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
In years past, Burbank and Burroughs high school usually had two matchups on the volleyball court (and last season, three) to settle city bragging rights. However, as the Pacific League continues to tinker with scheduling and the way the season has played out, the two rivals are facing each other just once this season, raising the stakes of the encounter just that much more.
In the lone matchup for this campaign, Burroughs was able to come away with a 25-15, 25-17, 25-22 victory over the host Bulldogs in a Pacific League encounter Thursday evening.
“It feels good always to beat the crosstown rival,” Burroughs coach Edwin Real said. “They are playing hard. They are playing well. It was tight, so it’s fun.”
The result was consistent with recent history, as Burroughs (6-8 overall record, 5-2 league) has now defeated Burbank (4-17, 2-6) in 14 straight matches dating back to 2014.
Now that all league members have played each other once, the schools split into upper and lower tiers for the remainder of the regular season. All will play three more league contests, with one against each member of their tier (instead of last season’s two). Burroughs is in the upper with Crescenta Valley, Arcadia and Glendale. Meanwhile, Burbank will match up with Pasadena, Muir and Hoover.
Burroughs was led in kills by junior Tawnie Ohrt, who had a match-high seven. Elizabeth Johnson and Sadie Lomet each made five kills. Janessa Wareebor had four kills and two aces. Kara Aldana-Pere and Narissa Wareebor had two kills and one, respectively. Senior Bri Munoz served up four aces, all in game two.
“This is one of those [matches] where the crowd has the most energy and we were able to play our own game,” Janessa Wareebor said.
Burbank was paced in the kills department by Quinn Cramer with five. Jazmine Cobb and Astoria Torres each had three kills and Sara Aslo had one. Jolene Ngo was a force from the service line with five aces.
“We’re starting to read people’s hits. We’re watching the hands a lot more when it comes to tips,” Burbank coach Paolo Fabregar said of what went well against the Bears. “[Also], we are starting to read those backline plays on defense.”
The visitors scored the first three points of the opening game, punctuated by a kill from the outside by Aldana-Pere. Burbank eventually overtook the Bears and led by two as late as 14-12, but the next Bulldog serve came up short. Bear Caitlyn Lugo then stepped to the line and served out the final 12 points of the game, starting with an ace to knot the score at 14. Lugo would notch another ace in the run that also saw two kills from Ohrt and four from Johnson. The final point of game one came on a block by Destiny Helligar. Game one ended 25-15 in favor of the visitors.
“In game one [Burbank] came out like a ball of fire,” Real said. “We just kind of weathered the storm and then played off of that.”
The Bulldogs looked primed to take game two after building an 11-4 advantage. However, the Bears had closed to within two when Munoz stepped up and served the Bears to the next eight points, including four aces, and a lead they would not relinquish. The exclamation point on the game two win was a kill by Johnson to set the final margin.
Game three was tied six different times. However, the Bulldogs had forged a 22-20 lead following a kill on a tip from the middle by Cramer before Janessa Wareebor followed that with a kill from the outside for Burroughs. Burbank then hit long to tie the game for the final time at 22-22. Burroughs finished things off with three straight kills, the first from the outside by Janessa Wareebor and the final two from Lomet in the middle.
“It seems like we are playing together and it is fun,” Real said.