LA CRESCENTA — With only three available postseason spots set to come out of the Pacific League and two teams practically assured of grabbing the top two spots, the Crescenta Valley High and Burroughs boys’ volleyball programs don’t want to be excluded from the playoff hunt.
Crescenta Valley and Burroughs finally had a shot at gaining the upper hand on the other during a league match Wednesday afternoon at Crescenta Valley.
Crescenta Valley won the first of two head-to-head meetings this season, as senior outside hitter Ryan Peters contributed a match-high 16 kills in the Falcons’ 21-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-16 victory.
The Falcons snapped a five-match losing skid to improve to 4-6 and 1-1 in league. The Indians dropped to 4-3 after losing their league opener. Both teams are looking to qualify for the postseason behind perennial powerhouses Arcadia and Claremont, which are ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in the latest CIF Southern Section Division II poll.
“With Claremont and Arcadia as good as they already are, we want to stay in the hunt for the playoffs,” said Crescenta Valley Coach John Nelson, whose team qualified for the playoffs last season. “That’s why this win was very important.
“Now we have to make sure and do what we have to do to get one of the top three spots. We showed some signs of improvement.”
Things started off well for Burroughs, which also appeared in the postseason last season in just its second year of existence. It took advantage of various errors committed by the Falcons, but couldn’t keep up pursuit throughout the remainder of the match.
“We have a young team this year,” said Burroughs Coach Joel Brinton, who is the reigning All-Area Coach of the Year. “We’ve been battling the entire season.
“In all three of our losses now, we won the first game. So, the guys are learning to consistently play well.”
The Falcons pulled away for good in the pivotal third game, racing to a 13-5 lead on a kill by senior outside hitter Eric Bjorklund. Burroughs rallied a bit, cutting the lead to 19-16 on a kill by senior middle blocker George Gonzalez before the Falcons pulled away for the win.
“After the first game, we stopped missing serves,” Nelson said. “We had some decent runs from the second game on without any unforced errors.”
Crescenta Valley got 13 kills and a team-best three aces from Bjorklund and 32 assists from junior setter Gabriel Can.
Burroughs picked up a team-high 14 kills from sophomore outside hitter Lucas Yanez and 12 from junior middle blocker Dimitri Navrides. The Indians also received 19 assists from setter Tyler Yanez.