BURBANK — For not being in the same league in boys’ volleyball, Division II powers Burroughs and South Torrance highs see a lot of each other on the court, and it always seems to be an emotion-packed encounter.
“It seems that our karma the last couple years is we keep running into each other,” South Torrance Coach Kevin McElwee said.
Once again, the matchup proved to be a contentious affair, as the Indians hosted the Spartans Friday evening in a nonleague contest and came away with a satisfying 25-18, 17-25, 25-22, 25-21 victory over the team that ended their run in the CIF-Southern Section Division III playoffs last year.
“A lot of emotions in this match playing South,” Indian senior Daniel Jacobs said, “beating them in semifinals my sophomore year, losing to them in semifinals my junior year. For all the seniors, and all the juniors too who played last year, this is a really emotional game and it is really awesome to come out on top this time.”
The Burroughs attack was spearheaded by Jacobs, who finished with a game-high 19 kills. Joining Jacobs as offensive leaders were Jonathan Fuentes and Daniel Marbach, who both notched seven kills. On defense, the Indians (11-4) were led by Danny Casillas’ 14 digs. Marbach finished with eight digs. Three Indians finished with two blocks, including setter BJ Lagmay, who also had 30 assists.
South (9-6) moved up to Division II this season along with Burroughs, which are currently ranked No. 8. The Spartans were led in kills by Daniel Hart with 12.
“I knew it was going to be a match like this: very tight, back and forth,” McElwee said. “[Burroughs] played with a lot of emotion and it really just comes down to can you execute? I think it came down to crucial points and our passing fell apart and they started serving really tough.”
Burroughs and South Torrance were tied going into the third game, with each squad winning with some ease in games one and two, respectively. South Torrance jumped out to an early 6-1 advantage in the third, but the game tightened and was tied late at 20-20.
“We’ve had a little problem with executing lately,” Jacobs said. “In that third game and that 20-20 situation we wanted to do what we’ve been having trouble with and make sure we executed.”
The Indians then seized control with consecutive kills by Lagmay and Marbach. The Spartans tied the score again at 22-22, but after that two Spartans miscues set up Jacobs for the finisher, as he hammered the ball down the line from the outside position to claim the pivotal third game, 25-22.
In game four, neither team could build more than a two-point cushion until Nick Van Loo served one of his team’s six aces to stake the hosts to a 21-18 advantage. The Indians would not trail again and finished the evening’s contest with a block by Lagmay for the decisive 25-21 victory.
“Our last couple big nonleague games have gone five games and we haven’t been able to pull them out,” Burroughs Coach Joel Brinton said. “Tonight it was nice to pull it out and not go to a fifth game, develop that killer instinct a little bit.”
So, with the Indians’ victory, another chapter was written in their budding rivalry with the Spartans, and it may not be the last time they hook up this season.
“The way it goes, I won’t be surprised if we saw them at our last tournament and I won’t be surprised if we saw them in the playoffs,” said Brinton, whose team has gone 5-2 against South Torrance in the teams’ recent history. “It’s always kind of worked out that way for whatever reason.”