BURBANK — The Glendale Adventist Academy boys' volleyball team is finding the going a little rough since joining the Liberty League this season.
With two losses to start the league campaign, the Cougars faced another tough task in the form of Providence on Tuesday. The Pioneers not only finished second in league last season, but they are also perennial playoff qualifiers and are ranked among the top five in their division.
Although Glendale Adventist gave Providence a valiant battle in the first game, the Pioneers stepped up their game after a slow start and were able to earn a 25-19, 25-15, 25-8 victory at home.
Providence Coach Josh Eggleston said his Pioneers (6-4, 1-1 in league) fell into a pattern in the first game that has plagued the squad all season.
"We had another slow start," said Eggleston, whose squad is ranked No. 5 in CIF Southern Section Division V. "That is something that we've been battling all season. It's really all mental. I think it just takes some time for us to get warmed up."
The Cougars (0-3) have been learning on the fly this season. With little experience, the team is full of athletes who have never played competitively before.
Despite its record, Cougars Coach Ken Vigila said the team has improved.
"We only have two guys with any game experience," he said. "Today, we had some guys who were playing for the first time this season. We just need to get the experience, and we've been improving every game."
The Pioneers received 10 kills each from Phil Harvey and Kris Galvez.
Providence couldn't mount a substantial lead midway through the first game, as it held just an 11-10 advantage. However, the Pioneers embarked on a 6-0 run to take a 17-10 lead. But the Cougars didn't go away, whittling the lead to 18-13.
The Pioneers were finally able to take control — taking advantage of Cougars errors — to close out the game.
Providence began to dominate play in the second game, jumping out to a 19-5 lead.
"We really started playing better in that second game," Eggleston said. "We had better ball control and I thought overall we made better decisions."
Glendale Adventist took its only lead of the contest, 1-0, on a Providence service error to begin the third game. However, the Pioneers went on a 14-2 run to take a 14-3 lead.
Anthony Murgas and Alex Santos had three kills each for the Cougars.