Nitros fizzle out against Burbank

BURBANK — Momentum usually swings back and forth in a volleyball match, but that wasn't the case when the Glendale High girls' volleyball team faced Burbank in a Pacific League match Thursday.

The Bulldogs took charge from the very beginning and didn't let up, sweeping the Nitros in three straight games, 25-12, 25-12, 25-10. Glendale gave Burbank a helping hand, committing a total of 24 unforced errors, 15 attacking and nine service errors, in the match.

"Momentum is such a huge thing in volleyball and high school sports," Burbank Coach Sarah Brown said. "We came out really strong and we kept the momentum and never really let it swing to their side. Mentally, we stayed focused."

Eleven unforced errors, nine attacking errors and two service errors, cost Glendale (5-5, 1-4 in league) in the first game. The Nitros kept it close early on, as Burbank (7-2-1, 3-1) took a narrow 8-6 lead, but three straight attacking errors from the Nitros sparked a 17-4 Bulldogs run, which closed out the first game, 25-12.

"It felt like they were scared and didn't have a lot of confidence today," said Glendale Coach Jennifer Vo, whose team committed eight unforced errors during Burbank's 17-4 run.

Burbank carried the momentum into the second game and jumped out to a 10-1 lead, racking up four aces in that span. The Nitros cut the deficit to 14-7, but it was too late, as the Bulldogs closed it out, 25-12.

The Bulldogs had a stranglehold early on in the third game, as well, taking a 9-1 advantage off the bat behind four aces from Stephanie Eskander.

"You always come out thinking you're going to ace them and if you don't just come back and do it the next time," Eskander said.

Glendale trimmed Burbank's lead down to 10-5, but another Burbank run (15-5) closed out the third game and the match, 25-10.

"I thought we did a great job, I'd say it's one of our best games so far [this season]," Eskander said. "We came out with a lot of energy and played tough, did it the Burbank way."

Eskander had a big match, setting match highs in kills (11) and aces (six). Burbank accumulated a total of 12 aces in the game.

"[Eskander] was really efficient today," Brown said. "She didn't hit the ball the hardest, but she put it where they weren't and that's what wins games."

Stefanie Lin and Jamie Gonzalez tied for a team-high nine digs for Burbank. Mary Tonikian set a match-high mark in digs with 21. Ninette Mirzakhanian had 10 digs and set a team high in kills for Glendale with three.

Vo said she wants her players to put this match behind them.

"I don't really want them to remember this game that much," she said. "We just have to work on our service-receive game, that's the biggest problem we have right now."

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