LA CRESCENTA — A deciding fifth game appeared all but certain for the second time this season between the Crescenta Valley High and Burbank boys' volleyball teams.
Raymond Barsemian made sure that situation would not occur again, though, by turning in a splendid stretch of serving.
Barsemian collected three of his five aces in the fourth game to spark host Crescenta Valley to a 13-25, 25-21, 25-14, 25-22 Pacific League win against Burbank on Tuesday in a key Pacific League match.
Crescenta Valley improved to 17-3, 7-3 in league. Burbank, which posted a five-game win against Crescenta Valley at home April 16, dipped to 15-4, 8-3.
With Barsemian at the line to serve and Burbank holding a 21-17 lead in the fourth game, the Falcons went on a 6-0 run to grab a 23-21 lead.
“We wanted to just stay away from playing another fifth game against them,” Barsemian said. “At the beginning of the season, my serving was OK. … I've been working on it a lot since and I've been able to get things together. I felt like I needed to serve hard in the fourth game and then the aces started to come.”
Burbank closed to within a point twice, but couldn't get the equalizer either time. Crescenta Valley's Min Kim ended the match with a kill down the left sideline.
Crescenta Valley Coach John Nelson said Barsemian's serving helped pave the way for the Falcons to get back on track after they were swept by visiting Claremont in a league match Friday.
“That was a real clutch effort,” said Nelson, who received 10 kills from Kim and eight from Bradley Fernandez. “He was very relaxed and in control.
“We changed some stuff around after the first game and we were able to right the ship a little. It's a huge win for us because it probably keeps [locks up] fourth place and we still have a chance at getting second place.”
Burbank Coach Patrick Patrick McMenamin said Barsemian's serving dashed any attempt to force a fifth game.
“He was serving well at the right time and we couldn't get going on our serve-receive,” said McMenamin, who got 26 assists from Peter Jang and 17 digs from Paul Shim. “We won the first game, but I thought we came out lethargic.
“We lost our competitive attitude after the first set and CV responded. CV found its offensive rhythm.”
An ace by Barsemian gave the Falcons a 10-5 advantage in the third game. Crescenta Valley then used a 7-0 run to build a 20-9 lead.
In the second game, Crescenta Valley went on a 5-0 run to take a 24-20 lead. A kill by Barsemian (seven in all) clinched the second game.
Burbank looked relatively sharp throughout most of the first game. After Crescenta Valley tied it at 10 on a kill by Christopher Han, the Bulldogs rattled off the next seven points to take a 17-10 lead. Joseph Servin registered a pair of kills in that stretch. Crescenta Valley closed to within 19-13 before Burbank finished off the set on a 6-0 run.
Crescenta Valley will next compete in a league road match against Burroughs, ranked No. 9 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division II poll, at 6 p.m. Thursday. Burbank, which got 10 kills from Dylan Anderson, will participate in a nonleague road match against San Marino at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich .