BURBANK — In a hotly contested Pacific League boys’ volleyball match, Crescenta Valley High and Burbank exchanged countless strikes to capture momentary leads.
With one mistake, either team could go on a rally, short or extended.
Though Burbank had the upper hand early, Crescenta Valley ultimately grinned out three straight set victories to come away with a 19-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-21 Pacific League road win Wednesday.
“It is our first match after spring break, so we are probably a little rusty with playing in a highly competitive match,” Crescenta Valley coach John Nelson said. “At the beginning, it was just making a lot of mistakes. Each set, we cut down more mistakes and we played better and better.”
The victory strengthen’s Crescenta Valley’s hold on second place in the Pacific League behind unbeaten Arcadia and Burroughs.
The Falcons improved to 9-5 overall and 4-1 in league. The Bulldogs dropped to 11-6 and 3-2.
The Bulldogs committed four errors to open the match and give the Falcons a 5-1 lead.
Burbank tied it four times before Crescenta Valley pulled away for a four-point lead, 19-15. The Bulldogs closed the first set out with a 10-0 run, behind a trio of service aces from Ryan Rickey.
“We gave the team a heads up on where these guys were going to go,” Burbank coach Karl Rojo said. “The game plan was trying to force their outsides to angle and be ready for those tips. I think we did a fairly good job covering those.
“We just wanted [Crescenta Valley] to be fast off the net in transition and to be swinging hard every single time [so we can] get that dynamic tip to throw them off.”
The Bulldogs took an early lead in the second set and led 10-5, but the Falcons fought back to tie it at 13.
Eight different lead changes ensued before Crescenta Valley knotted it at 23 before taking the set behind a pair of kills from Garo Barsemian.
Barsemian led the Falcons with 16 kills, followed by seven from Andrew Boyle.
“We were super frantic when we started,” Barsemian said. “You know, shanking balls, hitting them out — all that stuff. Coach snapped us out of it and we kind of got momentum, but we ultimately got it [right] in the following sets.”
The third set saw nine ties and Crescenta Valley grabbed the lead five times before it established the largest lead at 20-15, thanks to a block from Brendan Harvey.
With a 2-1 set advantage, the Falcons took hold of a 6-2 lead to start the fourth set.
Following a timeout, Burbank battled back to tie it at 10 before the two teams engaged in another series of ties.
The Falcons broke away and took an 18-15 lead late in the set, but the Bulldogs pulled within one point on five, different occasions before a series of errors gave the Falcons three points to close out the match.
“I think it came down to the little things with these guys,” Rojo said. “We messed up a lot with our servings. It just kept killing our momentum.”