First published in the Oct. 8 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
In both schools’ first match since the Pacific League split into upper and lower tiers, Burbank hosted Hoover as the season’s final stretch began.
Against the visiting Tornados, the Bulldogs served up a sweep, winning 25-8, 25-18, 25-7 in league play Thursday afternoon.
“I was a senior in this gym, [so] I know how these seniors feel, this being their second-to-last [home] game of the season, so I kind of just emphasize the fun and everyone enjoying it and getting a touch on the court,” Burbank coach Paolo Fabregar said.
Burbank (5-19 overall record, 3-5 in league) was dominant from the service line and racked up 22 aces in the match, with eight different Bulldogs getting in on the action. Raquel Fox led the way with six aces.
“For me, I just have to get out of my head,” Fox said about serving. “I look at the coach, I know where the spot is and I just go for it.”
Isabella Barska had five aces, Ally Molloy four and Liana Issaian three. Olivia Romagnino, Sara Aslo, Sam Arteaga and Allie Foenander each notched one.
Senior Quinn Cramer had a match-high nine kills, doing most of her damage from the middle. Fox had six kills and Astoria Torres four. Addy Ritner recorded three kills, with Aslo and Molloy adding two apiece. Jazmine Cobb, Yara Khozahi and Liana Issaian registered one kill apiece.
“I love playing against Hoover and it’s [the seniors’] last time playing against them,” Cramer said.
Game one saw the Bulldogs lead from start to finish. A kill by Cramer in the middle made the score 16-7 and handed the ball to Fox at the service line. The hosts won the next seven points, starting with a trio of aces, the final one climbing the tape and dropping down to the court. Aslo then had a kill to the deep corner, followed by another kill in the middle from Cramer. Fox dropped in two more aces before Hoover broke her serve. Soon after, Aslo finished the opener with an ace.
Game two was a much tighter affair. Hoover held an early three-point advantage, but a pair of aces by Barska tied the game and the hosts would not trail again. The game was tied at 11-11, but the hosts scored the next seven points. The Tornados stayed in it but could not catch up again, and two consecutive kills by Fox set the final margin.
“I’m surprised the second set went as far as it did, but it was a fun game nonetheless,” Cramer said.
Two early aces in game three by Issaian put Burbank into a lead the Bulldogs would not relinquish. The hosts scored the last 11 points of the final game, including four aces by Molloy.
“It was our second-to-last home game, so we’re happy to take that win,” Fox said.