ARCADIA — With an opportunity to seize an early and important league victory, the Burbank High girls’ volleyball team instead came up short Thursday afternoon.
Despite being competitive throughout, the Bulldogs committed crucial errors late in falling to host Arcadia, 26-24, 25-19, 25-20, in the Pacific League opener for both defending league co-champions.
“It was little things that stopped us today. We’d make a run, but then commit a service error or have a breakdown on defense that hurt us,” said Bulldogs Coach Sarah Brown, whose team split the two-match season series with Arcadia last season . “We had some defensive issues, but we win or lose together as a team.”
Burbank (4-3), recently crowned champion of the Burbank Tournament, appeared to have its best shot in the third game as the Bulldogs raced out to a 6-2 advantage and were tied late at 18.
Arcadia (4-0) went ahead for good on a kill from outside hitter Lexi Resch, 19-18, before the Bulldogs surrendered a point on an attacking error.
While the CIF Southern Section Division II-A eighth-ranked Apaches gave away possession and a point back on a service error from Stephanie Noriega, Burbank returned the favor with another attacking error that put Arcadia up, 21-19.
Both teams then traded points again, with Arcadia benefiting on a block from Resch, but following that up with another service error.
Down, 22-20, the Bulldogs handcuffed themselves with a service error that put Arcadia ahead three.
Two possessions later, Arcadia’s Kelly Dopke sealed the win with a smash.
“We just lost focus. I’m not sure everyone on the team realized how big a game this was,” Bulldogs senior middle blocker Hayley Bradford said. “We’d be right in the game and then we’d make mistakes that would take us out.”
A game earlier, the Bulldogs again found themselves in contention, having been tied at seven different junctures, including the final time at 13.
Burbank stayed close with Arcadia, rallying from a 17-14 deficit to climb within 17-16 on a kill from junior middle blocker Allison Tiegs, who led her team with nine kills.
Yet, the Apaches responded by scoring four of the next five points in going up, 21-17, after a kill from Resch.
Arcadia eventually closed out on a kill from middle hitter Kristen Mueller that was tipped by junior outside hitter Ashlyn Edwards (five kills) and passed a diving dig attempt from Bradford.
“It’s was just about energy today,” Bulldogs junior outside Denise Daniels said. “We would have energy early in the game and then our energy would drop later and we wouldn’t be able to come back.”
The toughest defeat for the Bulldogs may have come in the first game as Burbank surrendered the final two points, with the game-winner coming on an attacking error at the net.
“It’s still early in the season for us and this is something to learn from and build on,” Brown said. “Hopefully, when we see them later this season, we’ll play better.”
Junior setter Sara Treadway tallied 24 assists and 11 digs for Burbank, while Rose Cowart added 11 digs and five kills and defensive specialist Lily Winn finished with 17 digs.