BURBANK — The Burroughs High boys’ volleyball team is on a mission this season to capture its 10th straight Pacific League championship.
The latest obstacle was cross-town rival Burbank, which was looking to pull off an upset.
A thing of beauty it was not, but Burroughs took care of business against the host Bulldogs, winning in a sweep 25-14, 25-21, 25-20, on Friday.
“I saw us not play our best, but figure out how to get it done. That is simplest way I can put it,” Burroughs coach Joel Brinton said.
With the win, Burroughs (11-6, 6-0 in league) remains the only undefeated team in league, while running its Pacific League win streak to 71 games, which stretches back to 2013.
The Indians have now beaten Burbank (11-8, 3-3) all 15 times they have played since the Bulldogs revived their program in 2012.
In a match in which Burroughs was not firing on all cylinders, especially from the outside, strong play on the inside helped the Indians’ success. Leading the way were middles Jagger Green and Troy Outwater, who had seven kills.
On a night when many of the Indians struggled with their hitting, Green’s performance was especially noteworthy in that his 10 kills came with zero errors.
“Our middles played fantastic. Between our middles we had 17 kills and [just] two hitting errors, so they were awesome,” Brinton said. “That was the difference-maker. Our pins didn’t play very well tonight, so that is really what carried us.”
The visitors registered 45 kills.
Despite being one of the Burroughs players who had trouble against the Bulldogs, Connor Burroughs ended with a match-high 13 kills. Kade McGovern added seven kills.
“Other people may see it as a big game, but just try to treat it like any other game,” Burroughs said. “I think it went well at times. We had our ups and downs, but I think it was a good game.”
Indians Steven Grandinetti served up a match-high 25 assists. Sam Tipton led a sharp and effective defensive effort with 16 digs.
Burbank did not have a player reach double digits in kills, but was led in that category by Chase Marcy with eight. He also had five digs.
“I thought we battled pretty well against a really good Burroughs,” Burbank coach Karl Rojo said.
Marcy got the scoring started in game one with a kill from the outside, but that would prove to be the only lead the hosts would have in the opener. Burroughs scored the next seven points after Marcy’s strike. The opening salvo included kills by Green, Outwater, Grandinetti and Luke Kvarda.
The Indians stayed in control the rest of the way, slowly stoking their advantage. Connor Burroughs scored the last two points of the game on kills from the outside. The final margin of 11 was the largest of the game and, as it turned out, the entire match.
Burbank made the second game much more competitive, coming out strong by scoring the first three points. Burroughs tied the game for the first time at 8 on consecutive kills by Green in the middle. The game was also tied at 9, 10, and 11 before the Indians took the lead for good after a block.
“We started to collect ourselves a little bit better in the second and third [games],” Rojo said. “The effort overall improved in the second and third.”
Burroughs led the entire way in the final game.
“We just came out and did what we do,” McGovern said. “It’s a team effort. Everything counts toward wins and I think we all pulled it together.”