Should the Burroughs High girls’ volleyball team win a third straight Pacific League championship, it likely won’t be easy.
Burroughs has spent the first part of the season with a couple of key players battling injuries. Yet, the Indians have turned to their depth and experience to help them stay on track.
Burroughs met Crescenta Valley on Thursday in the first of two head-to-head match-ups and with the Falcons looking to put a dent in Burroughs’ bid to repeat.
Backed by 20 kills from Catie Virtue and 16 from Lydia Grote, Burroughs registered a hard-fought 25-20, 21-25, 25-22, 27-25 league road win against improved Crescenta Valley.
“We knew coming in that CV has been playing well,” said Burroughs coach Edwin Real, whose team split the league title with Arcadia and has won three of the past four league crowns. “We expected a tough match from CV and we got exactly that.
“We definitely feel confident with the the way we can play and we found a way to keep our composure in a couple of tight spots. It’s a great win and you see how much the rest of the league is stepping up their game and making improvements.”
The win leaves Burroughs (6-4, 4-0 in league) and Arcadia (9-4, 4-0) as the lone unbeaten teams in league.
The University of California-bound Grote, an outside hitter, recently returned after missing several weeks with an ankle injury. Real added that sophomore setter Meagan Lynch will miss most of the rest of the season after she sustained a knee injury during a recent match.
Still, the Indians were able to count on Virtue to help Burroughs overcome Crescenta Valley (18-8, 3-1).
“We have a lot of support on our team and we seem to play great volleyball when we are under pressure,” said Virtue, a junior outside hitter. “If we get in a tough situation, we know what we need to do and we did that in the fourth set.”
Burroughs, which began a seven-match road trip Thursday, trailed 24-21, in the fourth set.
The Indians tied it at 24 before Crescenta Valley took a 25-24 lead on a kill by Jamie Santos. Burroughs responded with three straight points, highlighted by a kill from Camila Sanchez-Tellez and an ace from Virtue before a hitting error by Crescenta Valley sealed the win.
“It was a great match,” said Crescenta Valley second-year coach Matt Simons, who received 19 kills and 18 digs from Lizzie Kerman. “We knew coming in that Burroughs was one of the teams to beat in league and we played them tough throughout.
“It was a great test for us to see where we are and we’ve made a lot of improvement. We just made a few too many mistakes at certain times and couldn’t get to that fifth set. We’re improving. We’re just not quite there yet.”
A kill by Virtue tied it at 20 in the third set. The Indians finished on a 5-2 run, which included two kills from Virtue, to give them a 2-1 lead in sets.
The Falcons, who came into Thursday’s competition as one of three undefeated teams in league, ended on a 5-1 run in the second set to pull even. A kill by Santos (18 kills) closed out the set after Kerman made it 20-19 with a kill.
In the first set, a kill by Grote gave the Indians a 23-20 lead. Burroughs got the next two points to grab a 1-0 advantage.
Sanchez-Tellez had 10 kills for Burroughs.
Crescenta Valley received 17 assists and 15 digs from Isabella Doom.
The Falcons and Indians will meet again on Oct. 8 at Burroughs.
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