Bulldogs secure first volleyball crown in 37 years

BURBANK HIGH — When Burbank High's Sharon Youn went up high for a block that fell back on the Burroughs side, the Bulldogs finally erased more than three and a half decades of league championship drought.

Youn's play was the match-winner Tuesday in a Pacific League contest against the Indians, giving Burbank a 25-21, 25-19, 25-20 victory in the regular-season finale for both teams.

The win was monumental for the Bulldogs (18-3, 13-1 in league) because they earned a share of the league championship with Arcadia (18-7, 13-1). It was also Burbank's first league crown in its seven years in the Pacific League. The last time the Bulldogs captured a league title was in 1975 when they were members of the Foothill League.

Since the Apaches and Bulldogs split their two matches this season, with each team earning a sweep at home, there will be a coin flip Wednesday to determine which squad will get the No. 1 seed from the league.

Although they had to share the league crown, that didn't seem to matter to the Bulldogs players, who celebrated their accomplishment.

"I'm not shocked that we were able to do this, because we worked very hard to accomplish this," Burbank senior opposite Jamie Gonzalez said. "We are just really proud and excited that we were finally able to do this."

Said senior outside hitter Katie Hooper: "This means the world to us, it really does. It just feels amazing to be able to accomplish something like this. To win a league title is everybody's dream. And the fact that no other Burbank team has been able to do this in a very long time makes it even better."

Denise Daniel had eight kills and Gonzalez added seven for the Bulldogs. Tyler Brooks contributed 15 digs and 19 assists, Hooper had 15 digs and Youn had four blocks.

Burroughs (12-10, 10-4) — last season's league champion — ends the league campaign in third place. The three teams, along with Pasadena, will now gear up for the playoffs, as the pairings will be released Saturday.

"We've already moved on from this loss," Burroughs Coach Edwin Real said. "We like to spend a little time thinking about losses, but we don't like to linger on them. We have to move on and now our concentration has to be focused on the playoffs."

The Bulldogs came out motived and looked determined against their cross-town rivals. However, in the first game, Burroughs led, 16-15, before Burbank went on a 6-0 run and never gave up the lead. The Indians committed 15 unforced errors in the game.

The Indians also led in the second game, 12-11, but Burbank surged ahead, taking advantage of 12 unforced errors by Burroughs.

In the third game, Burbank took a 9-8 advantage and never trailed thereafter. The Indians were kept in the game by Caitlin Cottrell, who tallied six of her 11 kills in the third stanza. Teammate Laura Howard added seven kills.

The significance of winning a league championship was not lost on the Bulldogs players, as coach Sarah Brown said they realize what they have accomplished.

"This is something that they definitely deserve," said Brown, who had never had a team finish higher than third place in league during her six-year tenure. "They knew what this meant and they knew how important this was to the program.

"We tried to downplay the whole rivalry thing, but it's Burroughs and that always gets them pumped up."

The Bulldogs made history in last year's playoffs, earning a first-round victory for the first time in program history.

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