BURBANK — The season agenda for the Crescenta Valley High boys’ volleyball team differs a bit from that of Burbank, its Friday afternoon opponent.
While the Falcons have their sights set on competing for a Pacific League title and returning to the CIF Southern Section playoffs, the Bulldogs are in a more formative stage of building their first-year program.
Both teams left the court having made some progress toward their respective goals, with Burbank hanging in for a while before Crescenta Valley secured a 25-14, 25-18, 25-15 victory.
“We were doing OK, not as focused as I wished we were, but we were all right,” said Falcons Coach John Nelson, whose team improved to 5-5, 3-1 in league. “It’s just one of those things where you’ve got to come in, do what you need to do, and make sure you take care of business.”
Anthony Shapiro had a match-high 10 kills for Crescenta Valley, which used long runs to keep distance between itself and Burbank, although the Bulldogs were occasionally able to answer back.
“It’s our first year and they’re still learning how to play the game, but I think we made big steps forward here today,” said Burbank Coach Sarah Brown, whose squad competed at the junior varsity level last year before making the jump to varsity this season. “I was able to call plays and they were able to execute them. I didn’t have to worry about where they were supposed to be or if they were all in the right rotation, so I felt like I could actually coach them.”
Things started promisingly enough for the Bulldogs (2-5, 0-4 in league), as they were able to take a 4-1 lead in the early going.
Once Crescenta Valley got a sideout, however, it did not relinquish its serve until the score was 14-4.
Vivek Voleti, who finished with a match-high six aces, served the 12-point run which included four aces.
A 5-0 Falcons run moments later made the score 19-8 and Burbank could do no more than trade points down the stretch to stall the victory.
In the second game, Burbank again held its own early, taking leads of 3-1 and 7-4.
But after catching up with the Bulldogs at 8-8, Crescenta Valley surged into the lead and never trailed.
Up, 19-12, after a Nico Alegria kill, the Falcons held on for the second-game win, but not before weathering a late 3-0 Burbank run capped by an ace by Paul Estagle.
“We just kind of went through the motions,” said Nelson, who got eight kills from Ryan Peters and seven from Alegria. “Sometimes it’s hard to get real fired up for some games.”
Crescenta Valley took control early in the third game, 10-3, and later went up 20-8 before closing the match out on a kill from Peters and an ace by Voleti.