BURBANK — Three of four local girls’ volleyball teams were on hand for the Burbank High Tournament on Saturday, but the hosts proved the value of held serve and protected their home court.
Burbank, Providence and Bellarmine-Jefferson highs all took part in the annual event, which featured 20 teams from Antelope Valley to Riverside County.
While Burbank, Providence and Bell-Jeff all used the tournament as a measuring stick, the Bulldogs stood higher than the rest and won the tournament title with a 25-14 victory over Culver City in the Gold Division championship match.
“It’s a huge confidence boost for us,” said Burbank Coach Sarah Brown, whose team went a combined 8-1 in the tournament. “It’s always great when you can win your own tournament.
“We’ve been able to make some nice strides. We talked about being able to serve tough. We did that a lot throughout, and we didn’t let the other teams get into any kind of a comfort zone.”
After each team competed in three pool-play matches, the top eight qualified for the gold division. The next eight advanced to the Silver Division and the remaining four took to the Bronze Division.
The playoffs featured a single-elimination format.
Burbank opened its pool by splitting a pair of games with Mark Keppel (12-25, 25-23). It then swept Panorama (25-10, 25-6) and St. Monica (25-21, 25-14).
As the fourth seed in the division, the Bulldogs posted a 25-23 win against fifth-seeded Immaculate Heart before earning a 25-19 semifinal victory against eighth-seeded Campbell Hall.
Providence, under the guidance of Coach James Jimenez, also had an impressive showing. The Pioneers reached the tournament’s Silver Division final before falling to Cantwell Sacred Heart, 25-17.
In pool play, Providence lost to Sylmar (25-21, 25-20) and Alemany (25-19, 25-18). The Pioneers then bounced back to defeat Golden Valley, 25-14, 25-22.
Fifth-seeded Providence started the playoffs with a 25-23 win against fourth-seeded Mark Keppel before registering a 25-23 semifinal win against top-seeded St. Monica.
Jimenez said the Pioneers gained some valuable experience in the event.
“This is something that only gives us more confidence,” Jimenez said. “We competed very well against some very good teams. We have a better idea knowing we can go up against some of the bigger schools.”
Bell-Jeff finished 2-4 in its six pool-play games. The Guards, who are coached by Brandon Johnson, were swept by Paraclete (25-7, 25-13) and Eagle Rock (25-17, 25-19). Bell-Jeff then bounced back to sweep Holy Family, 25-14, 25-22.
In the silver division, seventh-seeded Bell-Jeff saw its run come to a close with a 25-23 loss to second-seeded Sylmar.
“We’ve talked a lot recently about how you play and practice,” Johnson said. “You want to come away feeling proud about the way you play and we did that.
“A tournament like this is good preparation. It’s just about going out there and trying to get better.”