LA CRESCENTA — In 2006, its first season in the Pacific League, the success enjoyed by the Burroughs’ High girls’ volleyball team was a pleasant surprise.
Welcoming almost all of their starters back, the Indians entered 2007 Pacific League play poised to surpass the accomplishments of last season, in which they went 15-9, placed third in league and reached the quarterfinals of the CIF playoffs for the first time in 20 years.
With a 25-11, 25-22, 25-17 victory on Thursday against host Crescenta Valley, last year’s fourth-place team in league, the Indians ran their league record to 4-0 and are quickly emerging as one of the top teams in the Pacific League.
“I think we’re playing well,” said Burroughs Coach Edwin Real, whose squad defeated defending league-champion Pasadena, which did not lose a league match last year, in four games to open league play Sept. 18. “[Playing Arcadia] is going to be a big one, but at the same time, we can’t overlook the other teams in the league.
“We still have to keep it solid every match.”
Burroughs (6-2) might have been tempted to overlook the Falcons (5-6, 2-2 in league) following their dispirited performance in the first game.
Crescenta Valley strung together consecutive points just twice in the game, while converting just two of its 11 points via kill.
The Falcons began to show their resiliency in the second game, rallying behind three consecutive aces from middle blocker Rachel Fisher to erase most of a 10-point deficit.
A kill by senior outside hitter Maggie Rajtar, who led the team with eight kills, capped a 7-1 run and brought the Falcons to within 23-21.
A Burroughs timeout was enough to stall the Falcons’ surge of momentum and allow Tatiana Sao to finish the game with one of her nine kills.
“I think when the match started, we were a little intimidated, but we have to just get the ball up and start off strong thinking we can win,” said Fisher, who finished with two kills and six digs. “[In the second game] we came from down 18-8 to 25-22, so I think if we had just started like that we would have been able to beat this team out.”
Crescenta Valley was unable to begin the third game the way it had finished the second, once again falling far behind quickly.
Down 7-1, the Falcons again were able to play their way back into the game, though.
Fisher, Rajtar and Sara Schwarz all contributed kills during a 7-2 run, which brought the Falcons back to within 9-8.
That’s where Burroughs’ heavy hitters took over the game, reeling off eight kills to close out the match.
Wendy Rolph accounted for two of them, Sao added two more, Kayla Gurley had one and Karissa Lagmay had three of her match-high 11 kills late in the third.
“I think the key to finishing the match was just focus — we had to step up our game, and we did,” Sao said. “We’re playing as a team right now, and that’s what counts.”