BURBANK HIGH — There was a more important issue at stake Tuesday when the Burbank High girls' volleyball team took on Crescenta Valley.
Getting a win was definitely important, as the Bulldogs and Falcons are fighting for a top-three spot the Pacific League. However, raising funds to benefit the treatment and research to find a cure for breast cancer took center stage for both squads.
With the teams donning pink jerseys for the contest, Burbank and Crescenta Valley took park in a Dig Pink event at Burbank High, where each dig in the contest raised money for the cause.
Although both teams' coaches would have liked a shorter match, the contest went to five games, prompting more digs.
The Falcons fought back from a two-game deficit to force the deciding fifth game. With the score tied late in the game, the Bulldogs were able to pull in front to win the match on their home court, 25-18, 25-21, 16-25, 22-25, 15-12.
The teams combined for 101 digs, with Crescenta Valley's Katie Rinder and Burbank's Jessica Murphy leading their respective teams with 16 each. Both Bulldogs Coach Sarah Brown and Steven Umemoto said they don't have a total dollar amount of funds raised.
Along with the excitement of the contest, the teams' coaches were happy to be a part of an event that raised funds for a worthy cause.
"I think it's great that the girls get to do something that they like, and it's something that will help other people," Brown said. "They girls were really into it and they were excited to be a part of it…I just think it's good to give back."
Said Umemoto: "This is a cause that I think is close to everyone's heart. We all probably know someone who has had cancer. It's also nice that the girls are giving back, and doing something to help people. I also think it brings the two teams closer together."
Along with the match, there was a silent auction, a 50-50 raffle and gift baskets to bid on at Burbank High. The Bulldogs also had a fundraiser at Chevy's restaurant after the contest.
In notching the win, Burbank (12-4, 8-3 in league) received nine kills from Murphy and seven from Reilly Brennan.
In the thrilling fifth game, Crescenta Valley (7-6, 6-5) took control early, jumping to a 7-4 lead. But the Bulldogs battled back and took a 9-8 advantage on a flick-kill over the net by Sarah Tubert.
The Falcons tied the game at 12 on a kill by Kira Guarino (18 kills). But Burbank received a kill from Kelli Brenn and the Falcons were called for a net volition and a Crescenta Valley shot was then called out to give the Bulldogs the match.
The final two calls were controversial, prompting frustration from Umemoto.
"That was really tough," the coach said about the calls, both of which prompted discussion from the officials. "But I was very proud of the way we were able to battle back from being down 0-2."
Leah Gagliardi had 20 kills for the Falcons.
"You never want a match to go to the fifth game, because really anything can happen," Brown said. "I was just glad we were able to come back and win it."