LA CRESCENTA — The Burroughs High boys' volleyball team almost had a slip-up a few weeks ago in league competition.
The Indians didn't play well against Arcadia, and as a result, had to pull out a win in five games against the Apaches.
To maintain their No. 1 ranking in CIF Southern Section Division III, as well as stay on track to win their second straight Pacific League championship, the Indians realize that they are going to have to bring their "A game" for every league contest.
That invigorated approach was evident Friday, as Burroughs faced host Crescenta Valley. The Indians began slowly in the first game but dominated the remainder of the contest, rolling to a 25-20, 25-10, 25-11 league victory.
"The game against Arcadia was definitely a wake-up call for us," Burroughs Coach Joel Brinton said. "But the guys have been really able to stay focused and really concentrate on each game that they play.
"We know after winning it last season, we have a big target on our backs. We know when we go in to places like Arcadia or CV, they want to beat us."
Despite missing starter and team captain, senior outside hitter Logan Shapiro — who was on a college visit — the Falcons (6-9, 1-2 in league) played well in the first game and never let the Indians (19-3, 3-0) control the contest.
"I loved the way that we played the entire evening," Falcons Coach John Nelson said. "I can't be more proud of the way our guys played. They were battling the whole way."
Brinton, a Crescenta Valley High graduate, admitted his team didn't get out to a blistering start.
"They were missing some of their players, and things were a little different than what we were expecting," he said. "That may have goofed us up a little."
Burroughs was paced by junior middles Robbie Rutecki and Ike Nwachie. The two proved to be a powerful tandem at the net. Rutecki had six kills and Nwachie added six kills and five blocks. Tyler Yanez added 27 assists and Daniel Jacobs had nine kills.
Crescenta Valley came out in the first game and never let the Indians gain a sizable lead. In fact, the Falcons took the lead, 5-4, and held the advantage for a big chunk of the stanza. Burroughs was able to take the lead, 16-15, on a kill by Lucas Yanez.
Crescenta Valley stayed close at 19-17, until the Indians turned it on in the latter part of the game.
"Burroughs is a good team," Nelson said. "That's why they're ranked No. 1 in our division."
The Falcons received four kills each from Parker Fernandez, Wesley Cormier and Vincent Van Hoek.
Burroughs dominated in the second game, jumping out to an 8-2 start. The Falcons stayed within six points of the lead until the Indians embarked on a 6-0 run to take an 18-7 advantage.
It was more of the same in the third game. Burroughs was able to take a 9-1 lead and the Falcons never threatened after that point.