Deep into the Pacific League boys’ volleyball schedule, Burroughs found itself in an unfamiliar position, looking up to the top of the league standings with a hungry Glendale squad up next as the season winds down.
Glendale put up a valiant effort, but Burroughs was able to do enough to overcome the host Nitros 25-18, 25-20, 19-25 and 25-12 Tuesday afternoon in Pacific League play.
“I’ll just be honest,” Burroughs coach Joel Brinton said. “I saw us come out and not play the way we are used to, not play the way we are expected, but figure out a way to win.”
In games 1 and 2, Glendale held a lead well into both before Burroughs was able to take control and pull out wins.
“It was a lot of that inconsistent, not very high-level play and then, at the end, ‘All right, let’s go ahead and take care of it,’” Brinton said. “I’m not really a fan of playing like that, but it got the job done for those two sets.”
In game 1, Glendale’s Quan Tran started the match with an ace.
Kills by Burroughs’ Andy Zeytounian and Benji Ly quickly gave the visitors the advantage. It held until a pair of aces by Glendale’s Thaddeus Whiting put his squad ahead.
Soon after, Glendale held a 15-13 advantage before the Bears went on a 9-0 run. Ly started it with a kill from the outside, followed by three consecutive kills from the middle by Gavin Arnold. A Nitros’ two-touch violation was the next point, followed by a kill from the outside by Henry Carlin.
A block by Arnold, another kill by Ly and another two-touch violation by Glendale pushed the run to nine before Glendale’s Thomas Gonzales ended it with a tip that found the court on Burroughs’ side for a kill.
After the hosts fended off one game point, a block at the net by Carlin ended the first game. In the opener Ly had seven of his match-high 16 kills.
In game 2, Glendale had a 19-16 advantage before the Bears embarked on a six-point run to the flip the script. It started with another three kills in a row by Arnold. Nitro errors sandwiched around a block by Mark Hopkins finished the run with the visitors now holding the three-point cushion. Soon after, an ace by Hopkins set up game point and Jy finished it with a kill on the next point.
“I think a lot of things came down to us on our side executing. We gave away a lot of points we shouldn’t have,” Hopkins said. “I feel like when we do come together and play as a team, things turn around and we play a lot better.”
Throughout the match, the Bears struggled to put their serves in play. This was especially an issue in the third game won by Glendale, 25-19, when Burroughs had nine serves land out of bounds. In total, 24 points were gifted by the Bears’ inability to put their serves in play.
“A lot of the guys that missed today are usually much more reliable, so I’m not going to come up with any excuse,” Brinton said. “They just need to be better. We practice serving every day, and it doesn’t make sense for us to come out and serve like that.”
A kill from the outside by Glendale’s Ergueen Herrera set up game point in the third before the Bears hit into the net to give the hosts the win.
Game 4 was all Burroughs and included a 7-0 run behind the consistent service game of Nathan Kameya, which started with an ace that clipped the tape. Consecutive kills by Zeytounian and Arnold set up match point, and the match ended as Glendale hit into the net.
It was the second match in a row between the schools. Last Friday, Burroughs defeated the Nitros, 3 games to 1. The game Glendale took in the first meeting broke a 38-game winning streak by the Bears. In this the second meeting, the Nitros grabbed another game, giving them two this season, something not achieved over the last 10 years in which Burroughs is undefeated in matches against Glendale.
“Overall, I was pleased with [my team’s] effort and I told them so,” Glendale coach Marji Keyfauver said. “Burroughs has been the top dog… and just to know we are taking sets from them kind of helps us mentally in the future, just knowing we can compete at this level.”
In addition to Ly’s production from the outside, the Bears also received fine efforts from their middle hitters, with Zeytounian and Arnold accounting for eight and seven kills, respectively. Carlos Tupua-Stiefel contributed five kills, Carlin had four, Hopkins tallied three and Owen Dixon had two.
Glendale was led in kills by Herrera with five, Tran had four, Middle Vraj Bhagat had three, as did Gonzales. Thaddeus Whiting recorded two kills and Alexavier Nuqui had one.
The third-place Bears (8-7 overall, 5-2 in league) will host Arcadia for a league match on Tuesday, April 18, at 6 p.m. before visiting Crescenta Valley for their regular-season finale on April 20.
“If we are going to do anything, we’ve got to start to figure some things out and play a lot better,” Brinton said.
First published in the April 15 print issue of the Burbank Leader.