BURBANK â€” 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.
â€œWe were doing OK, not as focused as I wished we were, but we were all right,â€ said Falcons Coach John Nelson, whose team improved to 5-5, 3-1 in league. â€œIt'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.â€
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.
â€œIt's our first year and they're still learning how to play the game, but I think we made big steps forward here today,â€ said Burbank Coach Sarah Brown, whose squad competed at the junior varsity level last year before making the jump to varsity this season. â€œI 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.â€
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.
â€œWe just kind of went through the motions,â€ said Nelson, who got eight kills from Ryan Peters and seven from Alegria. â€œSometimes it's hard to get real fired up for some games.â€
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.