BURROUGHS HIGH — The Burroughs High girls' volleyball team faced match-point in the fourth game of its Pacific League match Friday at home against first-place Arcadia.
But instead of giving in, the Indians fought back.
Burroughs pushed back to win the fourth game and force a winner-take-all fifth game.
In that game, the Indians were again on the brink of elimination, but once again they clawed their way back to stay alive. Despite putting up a valiant effort in the deciding game — even forcing match-point twice, Burroughs couldn't finish the job, and as a result, it was the Apaches who were able to come away with a 25-14, 19-25, 25-23, 24-26, 26-24 victory.
With two matches remaining in the regular season, the loss likely knocks the Indians (11-9, 9-3 in league) out of the running to capture their second straight Pacific League championship. Arcadia (17-6, 11-1) remains tied for the league lead with Burbank (13-1, 11-1).
"They put our backs against the wall, but our girls were out there trying to come back," Burroughs Coach Edwin Real said. "We came in with a game plan and we were having some problems in that first game. But once we got things figured out, it started working for us."
In the fifth game, the Indians fell behind, 14-9, as the Apaches were one point away from wrapping up the contest. But Burroughs mounted a spirited comeback, and when Arcadia was called for a double, the score was tied at 14.
The Indians then forced game-point, 15-14, following a kill by Nicole Encarnacion. But the Apaches came right back, blocking the ball at the net to knot the score at 15.
On the subsequent Arcadia serve, the ball was hit long and again the Indians were on the verge of the close-out point, 17-16, before Arcadia got another kill to again tie the contest.
The Indians then staved off elimination at 18-17 when Arcadia committed a service error. However, a Burroughs service error put the Apaches in front, 19-18, and a kill by Lexi Mueller ended the Indians' hopes.
Mueller had six of her 13 kills in the fifth game.
"We knew this was for the league championship," Mueller said. "We knew we had to play our hardest and we had to leave everything out there. I'm so proud of my team."
Burroughs received nine kills from Katie Rutecki and eight from Autumn Kanoho.
Along with the fifth, the fourth game provided its share of drama as well. Burroughs enjoyed a 13-8 lead before Arcadia embarked on a 6-0 run to take a 14-13 advantage. The Apaches maintained the lead and looked to win the contest with a 24-22 cushion. But two Arcadia errors allowed the Indians to even things up at 24. Burroughs won the game with two consecutive kills to force the fifth game.
"We tried to do a couple of things differently this time," said Real, whose squad was swept by Arcadia on Sept. 27. "They are a good team and they play good defense."
Burroughs got off to a rough start in the first game, but battled back to snatch the momentum of the contest with a strong showing in the second game.