LA CRESCENTA – For the second time this season, the Burbank High and Crescenta Valley girls’ volleyball teams needed five games to separate themselves.
And for the second time, a couple of key plays and drives delivered the Bulldogs a much-needed victory and the Falcons another hard-luck loss in Burbank’s 22-25, 25-23, 24-26, 27-25, 15-7 victory in Pacific League play Tuesday afternoon in the annual Dig for the Cure match.
With the triumph, Burbank breathed a sigh of relief as it snapped a three-match losing streak and improved to 11-3 overall and 7-3 in league. Crescenta Valley dropped to 5-9, 4-6.
“It’s great to get back to winning and snap that three-game losing streak,” Burbank coach Karl Rojo said. “We knew going against Crescenta Valley that it was going to be tough. We beat them 3-2 (on Sept. 14) and expected another close game. It’s very satisfying to come out with the win.”
Burbank and Crescenta Valley boasted titanic individual efforts.
Burbank senior outside hitter Melissa Daniel tallied 32 kills and 24 digs, sophomore setter Ashley Eskander totaled 53 assists, 17 kills and 10 digs and sophomore Katie Treadway finished with 11 kills, 11 digs and six aces.
For the Falcons, Maya Lightfoot led her squad with 15 kills, while sophomore Lizzy Kerman contributed 10 kills, five aces and two blocks and junior opposite Teny Noordermeer added 10 kills and three blocks.
Crescenta Valley scored two of the first three points in the fifth set before Burbank rallied with a game-changing 10-2 run fueled by two kills from Daniel and seven errors from the Falcons to take an 11-4 advantage.
The Falcons tried to rally and pulled within 12-6 on a kill from Noordermeer. On the very next possession, Burbank’s Erin Lashkari (12 digs) connected on a spike that was blocked out of bounds by Madison Blohm, which gave the Bulldogs a 13-6 advantage.
Burbank eventually secured the 15-7 set and match victory on a Falcons’ hitting error, much to the chagrin of first-year Falcons coach Travis Dancer.
“The takeaway from tonight is that we just have to work a little harder,” Dancer said. “We’re not making proper reads and our defense is going downhill. We have to find a way to do better on our serves and eliminate the mistakes that have been hurting us.”
Crescenta Valley won the first set, 25-22, behind four kills from Lightfoot and had Burbank on the ropes in the second set, leading 14-7 after a stuff from Noordermeer.
The Bulldogs clawed back thanks to virtuoso efforts from Daniel and Eskander.
Daniel connected on 10 kills in the set, while Eskander added 10 assists and six kills, five via well-placed dumps that confounded Crescenta Valley.
“With the dump, it’s just been about trial and error,” Eskander said. “Our practices have been a little slow lately and we’ve been trying to pick it up. It’s nice to get this win.”
Burbank closed out the 25-23 victory in the second set on an Eskander kill.
To its credit, Crescenta Valley rallied in the third set and broke a tie at 24 with a Bulldogs’ service error that was followed by a kill from Kerman that gave the Falcons a 26-24 win and a 2-1 lead.
The advantage didn’t last, though, as Burbank utilized late-game heroics to break a deadlock at 25 in the fourth set with a kill from Apri Garibyan preceded by an illegal back row attack, which clinched Burbank a 27-25 win.