BURROUGHS HIGH — It was a tough going for the Burroughs High girls' volleyball team in the first game of its CIF Southern Section playoff match Thursday.
Facing a scrappy and gritty Oxnard team, the Indians were able to barely pull out a victory in the first stanza of their Division II-A match at home.
But Burroughs wouldn't be as fortunate the rest of the way.
Unable to get the ball to star outside hitter Megan Stephenson with any regularity during the next three games, Burroughs saw its season come to an end in the second round of the playoffs with a 24-26, 25-20, 25-22, 25-22 loss.
The defeat ends an Indians campaign in when they put together a 26-6 record and captured their first Pacific League championship in four years.
Burroughs Coach Edwin Real said the plan against the Yellowjackets (17-17) — the runner-up in the Pacific View League — was to give Stephenson a steady diet of kill opportunities during the match. The Indians were able to do that in the first game, but things went sour thereafter.
"Especially in that third game when it was tight, we wanted to get Megan the ball," Real said. "But we just weren't setting her. That was frustrating. I couldn't understand why we weren't setting Megan."
Stephenson paced Burroughs with 21 kills.
From the outset, it was apparent that Oxnard was an athletic team with players who prided themselves at getting to any ball that came their way, continually hustling to make every play.
"We knew they were going to be a good team," Real said. "We expected to get a good fight from them. But we made our share of mistakes, and that definitely didn't help matters."
Among those mistakes were the 18 service errors committed by the Indians.
"You just can't give a team like that free points, and that's what they were on those missed serves, free points," Real said.
In the first game, Burroughs successfully set Stephenson, who had nine kills in the stanza. Oxnard took control of the game, 20-19, as Burroughs just couldn't jump back out in front. The Indians were finally able to battle back and take the lead, 23-22, on a kill by Stephenson. However, Oxnard responded with a kill by Madison Holl to knot the score at 23.
The teams were again tied at 24 until Stephenson delivered a kill to put the hosts up, 25-24. Stephenson was able to end the game on an ace.
"In that first game we barely squeaked it out," Real said. "But we gave up six or seven serves, and that didn't help. ...We just didn't play one of our better games today."
Burroughs looked to be in control in the second game, as the team went on a 7-0 run to take a 14-7 advantage. But the Yellowjackets came surging back, going on a 6-0 run of their own to get to within one, 14-13.
Oxnard took the lead for good at 21-20, as two Burroughs errors down the stretch contributed to the loss.
The Indians again held a late lead in the third game, 17-16, and stayed close, 22-21. However, they couldn't get any closer than that.
The fourth game saw the Yellowjackets take a nine-point lead late, 22-13. But the Indians failed to give in. Burroughs battled back to get within three, 24-21, before Oxnard secured the win with a kill from Holl.