BURBANK — Over the last few years, the Burroughs High boys’ volleyball team proved to be among the elite programs in CIF Southern Section III.
The Indians reached the championship match in 2011 before advancing to the semifinals last season.
Having since been moved up to Division II, the Indians have a goal of replicating, if not surpassing, the success they enjoyed in Division III.
Burroughs started off on the right note Tuesday night, as setter BJ Lagmay contributed 33 assists and seven assists to lead the host Indians to a 25-10, 25-12, 20-25, 25-12 opening-round playoff victory against Long Beach Millikan.
Burroughs, which shared the Pacific League championship with Claremont, improved to 21-7 and will next face host Dos Pueblos in a second-round match at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Burroughs Coach Joel Brinton said the Indians have eagerly awaited the postseason with the task at hand of making another deep postseason run.
“Hopefully, we can create that same identity in Division II like we did in III,” said Brinton, who received seven kills, 10 digs and three aces from outside hitter Daniel Jacobs. “We had the target on our backs in Division III, but we don’t yet have that respect in II.
“We’d like to be able to earn that respect.”
Burroughs gained a measure of it in turning back Millikan (11-10). The Rams finished third in the Moore League.
The Indians made a stand early and often by aggressively attacking the net throughout the first and second games. They trailed only once — 2-1 in the second — in the first two games.
Lagmay set the tone during that stretch for the Indians, who were buoyed by their noisy crowd.
“We were able to do a lot of good things,” Lagmay said. “I got the guys some good sets that they needed to get us points.
“I think we definitely have the capability of doing well in the new division. It’s just having the right mind set and continuing to do the things we did well over the last couple of years.”
In the first game, Burroughs raced out to a 9-1 lead before making it 16-3 on a kill by middle blocker Matthew D’Almada.
After the Rams grabbed an early 2-1 lead in the second game, Burroughs stormed back by using a 12-1 ruin to make it 13-3. Jacobs had a pair of aces in that stretch, along with six assists from Lagmay.
“[Lagmay] has that ability to look across the other side of the net and figure out the best place to set up a good set for our hitters to place the ball at,” Brinton said.
A kill by outside hitter Tristan Martin clinched the second game.
The Rams showed marked improvement in the third game, taking advantage of six missed serves by the Indians. Burroughs closed to within 17-15 on a kill by middle blocker Nick Van Loo, but Millikan finished up with an 8-5 run to force a fourth game.
Burroughs proved to be dominant in the fourth game, as it used a 12-0 run to built a 19-5 advantage. Lagmay had four aces in the spurt. A kill by middle blocker Shayne Beamer closed out the match.
Beamer finished with 11 kills for the Indians, who got seven kills from outside hitter Jonathan Fuentes and nine digs from outside hitter Daniel Marbach.