ARCADIA — When two undefeated teams go head-to-head in a league match, there’s no escaping the evident buzz in the air.
That excitement was drilled into the Burroughs girls’ volleyball team that trekked to Arcadia on Tuesday in the teams’ first Pacific League matchup.
The buzz dimmed quickly as the Indians dug themselves into an early hole in the first set, rallied for the second, but succumbed in the ensuing sets to drop their first league match to the Apaches, 25-20, 17-25, 25-22, 25-17.
“Our ball-control was off a little bit,” Burroughs coach Edwin Real said. “We didn’t play like we normally play. That’s the difference. We had a different plan, and we had individual game plans — not team game plans.”
Arcadia (13-0, 5-0 league) jumped to an 8-0 lead in the first set behind three consecutive aces from Haley Kennedy that set the tone for the Apaches.
“They know the job they had to do,” Arcadia coach Jennifer Estrada said. “Through the years, we know how Burroughs is and it’s one of the biggest competitions we have.
“I love when we have that lead just because we have a more comfort space. It really [set the tone].”
Burroughs (5-2, 4-1) chipped away at the lead with four different rallies in the opening set and eventually pulled to within four points, but Arcadia regrouped before it got out of hand.
“I gathered that they were ready to play, focused and ready to go,” Real said. “Even in the first [set] we lost, we only lost by five and we spotted them the first [eight] points. Arcadia was serving well and we were all over the place. You take those eight points away and start over and it’s a different ball game. We might win that one.”
With a slight momentum on their side, the Indians went back-and-forth with the Apaches early in the second set backed by a pair of aces by freshman Charlotte Hobson.
The two sides traded shots and tied the score three times in the set before Burroughs junior outside hitter Lydia Grote took over and contributed four points in an 11-2 run for the Indians.
“We started to come back because coach called timeout and we pulled it together,” Grote said. “We all took a deep breath and relaxed. It definitely brought us together and helped us focus more on our goal.”
Burroughs finished off the set to the the match at 1.
“If you follow the game plan, we’ll play a lot better,” Real said. “We didn’t and we still took a game and we were still close in game one. …we tried to be consistent, and we weren’t consistent.”
Grote and Burroughs continued to dish out points while Arcadia’s Ayala Plummer responded to each shot by the Indians.
As Real sat Grote out for portion of the set, his senior opposite hitter Juliana Van Loo took to the court and helped the Indians keep up the rally midway in the third set.
Van Loo had 15 kills for the Indians.
“Once we started to be loud and built each other up, I think that’s when everybody else’s aggressiveness grew,” Van Loo said on the third-set rally.
The teams traded points in the third, but a crucial timeout with the score tied at 16 gave Arcadia the chance to score four consecutive points for a 20-16 lead.
Grote and Van Loo helped cut the lead to one, but the Apaches again pulled away to a three-point lead.
“One of our things is to make sure we put a team away while we’re up and we didn’t do that this game,” Grote said. “We let Arcadia hang around and it didn’t help that we weren’t doing what we’re suppose to do.”
The Indians knocked on the door with a 23-21 deficit, but Plummer’s kill sealed a 2-1 set advantage for Arcadia.
“We all got frantic,” said Grote, who finished a match-high 18 kills. “We stopped playing together as one as a team. We played as six different players. I think we stopped trying and gave up at the end there.”
Arcadia jumped to a 4-1 lead in the fourth set, but Burroughs quickly tied it at 5 before taking a quick one-point lead, 6-5.
From there, Monet Letunde took over with three kills and a block to help the Apaches go on a 12-1 run and establish a 10-point lead.
Again, the Indians pried back to the game, but the Apaches lead proved too much.
“The timeouts that we took are the kinds of timeouts they took as well,” Estrada said. “We took it to talk a little bit more about how they needed each other to finish it towards the end, whether they were down or up, they shouldn’t let a big lead go.”