BURBANK — The Burbank High girls' volleyball team was unsuccessful in defending its share of the Pacific League title it earned last season. What the Bulldogs did earn, with a sweep at Burroughs in the final match of the regular season, was a tie for second place with their rivals. This meant that, by way of an aggregate victory total of four games to three in the two meetings with the Indians, Burbank became the No. 2 seed out of the league in the CIF Southern Section Division IIA playoffs, thereby avoiding going on the road to start its postseason run.
So as a reward for the regular season finale shutout, the Bulldogs looked to cash in on home court advantage as they hosted Temescal Canyon in the first round. They did so with haste Tuesday night, defeating the Titans 25-12, 25-14, 25-14 in a match that lasted just under an hour.
"Getting a home game is so great; not having to travel at all is great," Burbank Coach Sarah Brown said. "Just being comfortable in your home gym. It's called home field advantage for a reason."
The Bulldogs (16-6) came out a little flat in the opening game and found themselves tied with Temescal Canyon, which made the trip from Lake Elsinore, at 10. But then Burbank's Rose Cowart broke the deadlock with a kill from the outside and followed that by serving the next 13 balls to the visiting Titans (9-15), as the home squad went on a 13-0 run in total to lead, 23-10, before winning by 13.
"Tough serves take out defense and that takes out the hitting," Cowart said. "So that was a good strategy our coach pushed us to do."
The junior finished with six aces in the match to go along with six kills. Burbank was led in kills by middle Allison Tiegs, who was especially potent early on, aided by the quick sets of Sara Treadway (26 assists).
"They were quick. They ran it a little bit shorter than our league, I guess, you know, short sets," Temescal Canyon Coach Terri Edwards said. "Our middles had to adjust. It took them a couple games to adjust and by then it was too late."
Tiegs, a junior, finished with 10 kills and proved to be a force at the net on defense with eight blocks.
"We always try to set our middles in the beginning. That is always our goal because it opens up the offense," Brown said. "So, if they're hot, then you keep going to them and she had an awesome game tonight."
Fellow juniors Ashlyn Edwards and Denise Daniel also contributed with six and five kills respectively. Libero Lily Winn had 11 digs.
"We dug a lot of balls," Brown said. "We passed a lot of balls and were able to run our offense so a lot of hitters got to hit."
Games two and three were closer on the scoreboard, but not on the court, as Burbank stayed in control of both on the way to 11-point final margins. Both ended with service errors by Temescal Canyon, the No. 2 entry from the Sunbelt League. The Titans were led in kills by Delannee Platner with four.
"We anticipated a closer game than this," Tiegs said, "and it feels really good to just play our game and win by this much."
Next for the Bulldogs will be a second-round match on Thursday, most likely against the division's No. 1 seed Whittier Christian, which hosted wild-card winner Westridge Tuesday night.
"I'm excited," Coward said. "We're going to play our game. Any team we face we're coming hard. We've worked really hard so we really want this to go all the way."