BURBANK — The passing was effortless, and to top it off, the Burroughs High girls’ volleyball team had the proven hitters to finish off those passes against rival Burbank.
As the Pacific League showdown went on, the Bulldogs fought back, but, again, the momentum shifted toward the Indians.
Behind 20 kills from senior Lydia Grote, Burroughs swept Burbank, 25-15, 25-17, 25-17, on Tuesday to continue its perfect league run.
The win keeps Burroughs (10-4, 7-0 in league), the defending co-champion, in first place in league by itself.
“We went back to our basic plan,” said Burroughs coach Edwin Real of Burbank’s serving in the second game. “When our passing is good, we can run our offense. I really think our offense is pretty darn good and hard to stop.
“Their equalizer is serving, and if anyone can serve us tough, that equalizes the game. Early on, we were passing a lot better and the ball was going to where we needed to go.”
Grote scored five points out of the Indians’ 8-2 lead to start the match. The Burroughs lead stretched to eight points before a service error secured the one-game advantage.
“She’s lethal alright,” Real said of Grote. “She’s a competitor and she knows that we count on her to get the points. She has range and she has length. Even when she’s in the back row, she still takes big swings. She’s aggressive.”
The University of California-bound outside hitter added two blocks. Junior Catie Virtue added seven kills and senior middle blocker Camila Sanchez-Tellez recorded five blocks and five kills for Burroughs.
“Something that we really strive to work really hard on is to always making sure get a good first contact,” Grote said. “We have amazing passers that are always really confident and really good about that. They do their job well and it helps us to win.”
Burbank (8-10, 4-3) received back-to-back aces from senior setter Ashley Eskander in first set and her serving at the start of the second set helped the Bulldogs to a 3-0 lead.
“I told them first thing that serving was going to be a big factor in game,” Burbank coach Karl Rojo said. “If we can get them out of system and force them one way, it’ll help out our defense a lot better and it’ll help out our blocks. Unfortunately, we didn’t execute that well in the first set in serving.
“We were serving balls into the net and it was killing our momentum. That’s something that we’re working on is serving under pressure and staying aggressive under pressure. They have good passers, too. There’s nothing you can do about that.”
The rivals fought back-and-forth in the second game, tying five times in the game before the Indians outscored the Bulldogs, 6-1, to take an 18-13 lead.
Errors plagued Burbank down the stretch of the second, where Grote hit a kill to give the Indians the game and a 2-0 match advantage.
With the score tied at 14 in the third set, the Indians scored six unanswered points to take a 20-14 lead with two kills and a block from Grote. Back-to-back kills from Virtue and a block from Sanchez-Tellez sealed the sweep.
Eskander finished with six aces and six kills, while senior outside hitter Katie Treadway had five kills for Burbank.