After winning the Pacific League championship outright and advancing to the CIF Southern Section Division III championship match in 2011, the Burroughs High boys' volleyball team had high expectations for the 2012 campaign.
The Indians fell a bit short of their goals, as they were eliminated in the semifinal round of the playoffs this season and lost the final match of the regular season, forcing the team to share the Pacific League crown with Claremont. It was the second time in three years the Indians shared the league title with the Wolfpack.
"That loss to Claremont left a bitter taste in our mouths," Burroughs Coach Joel Brinton said. "But we're hoping to use that as motivation for the guys who are coming back next year."
Despite sharing the championship, Burroughs (21-5, 11-1 in league) had a successful season and was well represented in the all-league voting with seven players earning accolades.
Leading the way was senior middle Robby Rutecki. Rutecki shared player-of-the-year honors with Claremont's Stephen Zetterberg. It is the third consecutive season in which Burroughs players have shared the league's top honor.
"It's unusual for a middle to be as versatile as Robby was," Brinton said. "But it is that versatility that was really key for us. He was able to do so many things at various positions.
"Last year, I think he felt slighted because he only made all-league second-team. That really served as motivation for him this whole year. He wanted to be up there this year."
As the team's co-captain, Rutecki tallied 197 kills, 160 digs, 25 blocks and 31 aces.
Making the first team for Burroughs were junior opposite Daniel Jacobs and senior Ike Nwachie. Jacobs set a new school record for kills in a season with 264, besting his own mark of 253 set in 2011. In addition, he had 101 digs, 25 blocks and 47 aces. Nwachie was a force in the middle, as the co-captain finished with 217 kills and 65 blocks.
"Ike was able to earn first-team all-league for three straight years," said Brinton, who was voted the league coach of the year for the third straight time. "And hopefully Daniel can have another successful season next year and contend for the MVP award."
The Indians had a pair of second-team honorees in junior setter BJ Lagmay and junior outside hitter Daniel Marbach. Lagmay tallied 594 assists to go along with 25 aces, 58 digs, 12 blocks and 22 kills and Marbach set a school record with 61 aces and also had 83 digs, 112 kills and 11 blocks.
An honorable mention pick for the Indians was senior outside hitter Hugo Ayala, who, despite being injured for a portion of the season, still collected 60 kills.
Crescenta Valley, which placed third in league before advancing to the quarterfinals, had five players selected to the team.
The Falcons (19-10, 8-4 in league) saw senior middle blocker Wesley Cormier and senior opposite hitter Vince Van Hoek named to the first team. Cormier led Crescenta Valley with 279 kills, 55 aces and 51 blocks. Van Hoek contributed 242 kills, 60 digs, 40 blocks and 40 aces.
"Wes brought leadership and used his abilities to work hard and get better," Crescenta Valley Coach John Nelson said. "Vince was similar to Wes and he was one of our leaders.
"Both guys could hit coming out of the back row."
Michael Linville and Grant Chappel of Crescenta Valley were named to the second team. Linville, a senior outside hitter, notched 136 kills, 56 digs and 45 aces. Chappel, a senior setter, finished with 794 assists.
Crescenta Valley senior outside hitter Ian Paprocki (210 kills and 37 blocks) earned honorable mention.
Burbank (8-15, 4-8), concluded its first season back on the varsity level with a fifth-place finish in league. The Bulldogs had an honorable-mention selection in senior setter Armen Sargsyan, who tallied 99 digs, 415 assists and 41 blocks.
Also receiving honorable mention were junior outside hitter Dan Sanidad of Hoover and Glendale junior outside hitter Josh Collado. Sanidad finishes with 89 kills.
Hoover finished 2-12, 1-11 and Glendale went 1-11 overall and in league.