BURBANK — Burbank High girls' volleyball Coach Sarah Brown explained to her team what it needed to do in its Pacific League finale Tuesday against cross-town rival Burroughs.
If the Bulldogs could beat the Indians, the teams would tie for second place in league. However, if Burbank could sweep host Burroughs, it would earn the No. 2 seed from the league for the CIF Southern Section playoffs due to margin of victory.
That might have been a tall order, taking into consideration the Bulldogs lost in four games to their rival the first time the teams played earlier this season.
But tall order or not, the Bulldogs responded to the challenge. Burbank outplayed Burroughs, frustrated the Indians and walked away with what it was looking for, a sweep in the form of a 25-15, 25-20, 25-21 victory.
"We knew we had to sweep them going in if we wanted that second spot for playoffs," said Burbank's Ashlyn Edwards, who had nine kills and 15 digs. "That is something that we talked about and something we knew we needed to do. I'm just so happy we were able to do it."
The Bulldogs (15-6, 11-3 in league) and Indians (14-7, 11-3) were relegated to playing for second place after Arcadia (16-5, 13-1) held on to defeat Crescenta Valley Tuesday afternoon in five games to clinch the league championship.
But even if the co-defending-champion Bulldogs weren't able to grab the league's top spot again this season, Brown was overjoyed at how her team played against Burroughs.
"I hate to say 'finally,' but I feel like this is the team that we knew we had and this is the way we knew they could play," Brown said. "They put it all together and you see what the result was."
Burbank received 11 kills from Denise Daniel and nine from Allison Tiegs. Teammate Sara Treadway had 32 assists.
Burroughs was its own worst enemy at times during the match, making unforced errors and continually giving the Bulldogs new life.
"Coming into today, the team that followed their game plan is the team that was going to win," Burroughs Coach Edwin Real said. "We came in with a game plan, we worked on it in practice and we just didn't stick with it. We knew what we had to do to win it and we just didn't do that."
Burroughs received nine kills from Alexis Hamilton.
The Bulldogs came out energized in the first game, jumping to a 7-0 lead. Burroughs got to within three points of the lead, 12-9, but couldn't inch any closer.
The Indians took only brief leads very early on in the second game, but Burbank quickly seized back control. Burroughs narrowed the lead to two, 20-18, following a kill by Caitlyn Cottrell, but the Bulldogs responded and generated breathing room. They eventually won the game on a kill by Tiegs.
After leading for most of the third game, Burbank got a scare when Burroughs battled back from a late six-point deficit to get to within two, 23-21. However, a Burroughs service error put the Bulldogs at match-point. Tiegs finished things off with an ace.
"We told them we need to control what happens on our side," Brown said. "And if we do that, it doesn't matter who we're playing on the other side."