BURBANK — Following a stretch of multiple practices that occurred during their spring break session, the members of the Burbank High boys’ volleyball team were eager to compete in a match again.
The results turned out positive, as Derian Blandon finished with seven kills and eight digs to power Burbank to a convincing 25-17, 25-20, 25-14 Pacific League home win over Hoover.
“We spent the last week or so focusing on things we needed to improve on, like serving tougher and our transition offense,” said Burbank Coach Patrick McMenamin, whose team improved to 6-7, 3-1 in league. “We did a better job of finishing our sets.
“We feel good about what we have been able to get done so far, but there’s still a lot of season left.”
Burbank received 11 assists from Jason Gomez and four aces from Ryan Garcia to win the first of two season matchups against Hoover (0-3 overall and in league). The teams will meet again at 3:30 p.m. April 19 at Hoover.
Blandon, a senior outside hitter, set the tone throughout for the Bulldogs.
“The practices helped during spring break and I was told to be more aggressive,” Blandon said. “If you get an opportunity, put it away.
“Right now, we have gotten off to a good start and we want to try to maintain it. We just need to keep talking to each other.”
In the first game, Burbank jumped out to a 9-2 lead. Garcia had three aces in that stretch.
Hoover used a late 7-1 run to pull to within 21-17, capped by an ace from Brandon Knight. Burbank closed out the game on a 4-0 run.
Blandon enjoyed a stellar second game, notching five kills. Whenever Hoover cut into Burbank’s lead, Blandon found a way to cut off the Tornadoes’ momentum.
“They tried to come back on us a couple of times, but we got some big plays in that second game,” Blandon said.
Blandon recorded a kill to give Burbank a 12-7 advantage. Hoover closed to within 13-10 on a kill by Dan Sanidad before Blandon had another kill to make it 14-10.
The Bulldogs led throughout the third game, taking a quick 5-0 lead. Burbank used a 16-3 run to extend its lead to 21-8.
Burbank got five kills from Elijah Cowart and seven digs from Jack Dagher.
Hoover co-Coach Christian Hong said the Tornadoes, who got a team-high six kills from Kennedy Wilson, continue to tinker in different capacities.
“We are still trying different lineup combinations,” said Hong, who got five kills from Sanidad and four from Brandon Estrada. “We are also taking steps in which we are competing a little bit better each time.
“We have a lot of new guys and they are learning to play together. We are just looking at them getting more confidence with each game.”