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Burbank boys' volleyball takes advantage of Crescenta Valley's mistakes

LA CRESCENTA — The contest started with a serve into the net, and from there, the Pacific League boys’ volleyball match between host Crescenta Valley High and Burbank saw a combined 37 unforced errors.

Though both teams were striving to readjust, the teams participated in close sets in an attempt to distance themselves.

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However, Burbank found composure in key moments and picked up a 25-23, 22-25, 25-22, 25-20 win Thursday.

“We just stayed aggressive throughout the match,” Burbank coach Karl Rojo said. “We didn’t let the mistakes get us down and I felt like we did a good job of being mentally tough today. We stayed aggressive at the service line, as well.

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“I thought we were accurate with the spots that I was giving them. Overall, a good team effort from everybody.”

The teams shared 36 ties throughout the match, but it was Crescenta Valley that was left chasing Burbank down the stretch in the final two sets.

“It’s just unforced errors,” Crescenta Valley coach John Nelson said. “Bad technique. Bad passing. It’s not like they were serving super tough, so there wasn’t a reason for that. The team that we have to look at is the one in the mirror. That’s the one that’s causing us all the trouble.”

Burbank (15-10, 7-4 in league) hangs on to fourth place in league, while Crescenta Valley (13-9, 8-3) drops to third after Arcadia (24-4, 9-2) handed league-leader Burroughs (16-9, 10-1) its first league loss since 2013.

Arcadia hosts Crescenta Valley on Tuesday in the final league match of the season, while Burroughs hosts Burbank in their cross-town rivalry.

“We want to take this energy and transfer it on to our next game that we have against Burroughs on Tuesday,” Rojo said. “Today, we did a good job in staying mentally strong and believing in ourselves that we can not only pull out the win, but believe in ourselves and make sure that we work hard together as a team.”

Chase Marcy led the Bulldogs with 15 kills and Luca Bily drilled home 10 kills, including two that helped the Bulldogs rally on a 7-0 run en route to their first-set victory.

“I really felt like, in this game, we played completely as a team, on and off the court,” Bily said. “Even the players on the bench were talking about what mistakes we needed to fix. We fixed those and we were able to push through.”

Garo Barsemian recorded 17 kills for Crescenta Valley, while Brendan Harvey added seven.

Crescenta Valley led for much of the first set, but with an 18-14 lead, the Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run to take a three-point lead.

The two battled back-and-forth in the second game until Crescenta Valley established a 12-9 lead. Burbank crawled back late in the set to tie it at 22. But an ace and a kill from Barsemian closed out the second game victory for Crescenta Valley to even the match at 1.

The Bulldogs pulled away midway in the third set for a 15-11 lead, but again, a series of errors ultimately gave the Falcons a short 17-16 lead. A block and a service ace from Marcy closed out the game for the Bulldogs to establish a 2-1 advantage.

“They did a great job blocking,” Nelson said. “They blocked a lot of balls that we kind of thought they wouldn’t, but it’s just no other way to say it. It’s just bad mistakes that shouldn’t be made, especially at this point in the year. We should be better than we are, and we’re not.”

The tug-of-war match continued in the fourth set, but a pair of strikes from Crescenta Valley setter Triston Kekahuna gave the Falcons a 10-8 lead. Crescenta Valley then committed five unforced errors to help Burbank take a 15-12 lead.

The Falcons’ offense started clicking between Harvey and Barsemian to tie the fourth set at 17, but a series of blocks from Bily and Jack Raytis set up a 20-17 lead for Burbank. Raytis and Bily combined for four points in the final stretch.

“We just tried to [maintain] a high-level of energy,” Bily said. “We noticed that their energy was starting to die out on the other side, so we thought if we kept a foot on the gas pedal, we could come out with a win, which we did.”

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