BURBANK — Going into the final match of the regular season, Burroughs High had already claimed a share of the school’s 10th straight Pacific League boys’ volleyball title.
However, with a win against rival Burbank, the Indians had a chance to put an exclamation point on their decade of dominance by claiming the title outright.
With aggression and strong defense, host Burroughs swept Burbank, 25-12, 25-22, 25-13, to take the league crown on Tuesday.
“It’s really exciting [to win the title],” Indians Jagger Green said. “It’s my senior year and my last league game. I’m really excited to be part of this the whole season.”
The dominant win for Burroughs (19-12, 11-1 in league) finishes off the quest for another league title as well as building on a streak against its cross-town rival. The Indians have beaten the Bulldogs (15-11, 7-5) all 16 times since the Bulldogs revived their program in 2012.
Even with the loss, the Bulldogs finished in fourth place in league and will take part in the postseason.
“It’s awesome,” Burroughs coach Joel Brinton said of the title. “Even that, the No. 10, I just worry about [this team] getting theirs.”
Leading the charge for the Indians was Kade McGovern, who hit with palpable power throughout. The sophomore finished with a match-high 16 kills.
“I treated it like any other game,” McGovern said. “I just had the opportunities today.”
Outside hitter Connor Burroughs added nine kills for the Indians. Green was next with seven kills, most of which came early on. Setting the table for Burroughs was Carter Cottrell with 27 assists.
“We finally brought it together as one,” Green said. “We were one team instead a bunch of individuals.”
Burbank had trouble cracking the Burroughs defense, which was led by libero Sam Tipton with 12 digs. The Bulldogs were also dogged by hitting errors, and those struggles were reflected in the final numbers. Luca Bily led the visitors in kills with five. Dylan Viyar was second with three.
Burroughs scored the first three points of set one and would never trail. Green recorded four kills in the opener from the middle to set the tone. The game ended with a kill from the outside by McGovern. The final margin of 13 was the largest of the game.
“Establishing the middle at the start was a huge thing for us,” Brinton said. “It’s what we talked about. It’s what we wanted to do. That allowed Connor and Kade to hit well the rest of the game.”
After winning the first set with relative ease, Burroughs had to earn the second as Burbank came alive. The game featured eight ties and saw the Bulldogs take the lead at 8-7 courtesy of a Bily block.
The visitors held the advantage until an ace by McGovern tied it at 17. Burroughs finished out strong, taking the lead for good at 21-20 off a kill from the middle by Troy Outwater. Green ended the game, tipping the ball over the net and down.
“The difference in game two was the effort. The belief was the difference,” Burbank coach Karl Rojo said. “Our dig-or-die mentality was there in the second set. We kind of lost that effort a little bit in the third.”
Game three saw Burroughs leading the majority of the time. The hosts pulled away late and the match came to a close on a powerful kill from the outside by McGovern.
“It was nice to see them really get together and finish the set,” Brinton said.
Up next for both squads will be the CIF Southern Section playoffs, with the pairings set to be released Friday. Burbank will be in Division III, while Burroughs could end up in either of the top two divisions, but Brinton said it will likely be Division II.
“[The playoffs] are what the boys are looking forward to. It’s what I’m looking forward to,” Rojo said. “We just want to start it off 0-0. It’s a new season.”