GLENDALE — Since Pacific League play began in March, the Burbank High and Glendale boys’ volleyball teams find themselves with something in common — difficulty closing out games.
That pattern changed slightly when the two squads met Wednesday afternoon at Glendale.
Burbank received 11 kills from John You and 21 assists from Jason Gomez to register a 25-22, 16-25, 25-9, 26-24 victory.
A point away from forcing a deciding fifth game, Glendale (6-6, 1-4 in league) saw Burbank (7-7, 4-1) use a late 3-0 rally to take the first of two head-to-head meetings. The teams will face off again April 25 at Burbank.
“We’ve struggled with our ability to finish off games,” Burbank Coach Patrick McMenamin said. “It was nice to close this out in four because you don’t know what can happen [in a fifth game].
“We were struggling at times executing our offense. It was mostly the inability to put the ball down. Glendale also played stingy defense.”
The Bulldogs and Nitros provided some suspense throughout the match. Fortunately for Burbank, it had answers to solve an improved Glendale squad.
Burbank got eight kills from Derian Blandon and 11 assists from Ryan Garcia to stave off Glendale.
“You could see how much Glendale has improved,” said You, who finished with four kills in the fourth game. “This was definitely a tough test for us.
“In the fourth game, we had to show we could fight back and we did.”
Glendale took a 23-21 lead on a kill by Josh Collado. Burbank got consecutive kills from Joseph Servin to tie it at 23 before a serving error gave the Nitros a 24-23 advantage. Burbank tied it again at 24 and took a 25-24 lead before an ace by Blandon completed the victory.
The loss left Glendale Coach Ta’ase Mose frustrated.
“We keep coming so close, but we just can’t finish it off,” said Mose, who got a team-high 11 kills and three aces from Collado. “It’s something that’s been hard for us all season.
“We were up the whole way in the fourth game and then we made some key errors. Our passing wasn’t good enough. It’s those key mental errors that we keep on making.”
Glendale held a 16-10 lead before Burbank knotted it at 17 with a 7-1 run.
McMenamin said clutch serving by the Bulldogs paved the way for their late comeback.
“I felt like our serving got tougher,” McMenamin said. “We were able to go off on a couple of runs and it also helped our defense.”
Glendale held a late lead in the first game, but couldn’t close the door on Burbank. Glendale got a kill from Luis Trejo to take a 21-20 advantage. However, Burbank finished up strong on a 5-1 run that featured a kill by Elijah Cowart to make it 22-21 and an ace by Joshua Wright to pad the lead to 24-21.
Glendale bounced back nicely, leading throughout most of the second game.
A kill by Collado gave Glendale an 18-12 lead. Burbank pulled to within 18-15, forcing Mose to call a timeout. The Nitros responded by closing out on an 8-1 surge. Kyle Hulguin had a pair of kills in that stretch.
Burbank led throughout the third game, racing out to a 15-4 lead on a kill by Servin.
“We had no energy in that second game,” You said. “We made quite a few mistakes.
“In the third game, we were able to do a better job of getting our energy level back up.”
Trejo finished with eight kills for Glendale, which got seven from Kevin Fonta and six from Hulguin.