Area teams fall short

LA CRESCENTA — Both the Burroughs High and Crescenta Valley girls' volleyball teams were worn out after three matches of pool play in the 2011 Crescenta Valley Volleyball Tournament Friday.

Neither squad could rebound, as the Falcons and Indians finished the tournament Saturday as the eighth and sixth-place finishers, respectively, in the eight-team Gold division bracket.

"It's been a long week of volleyball," said Crescenta Valley Coach Jen Ku Lee, whose team couldn't pull out a game Saturday after going 2-1 on Friday. "I think the girls are fatigued, I know I am as a coach a little bit."

Both Lee and Burroughs Coach Edwin Real said the main reason they have their teams compete in the tournament is to prepare for the end of the season and hopefully playoffs.

"It helps us pick up some momentum heading into the playoffs," Real said. "Playing teams outside our league gives us a taste of the level of competition in the playoffs. We definitely got that today."

Burroughs was sent into the loser's bracket after dropping its first match against South Pasadena Saturday, 29-27, 27-25. The Indians had another close call in their second-round match against Pasadena, but came out on top, 17-25, 25-19, 15-13.

Burroughs met up with and fell to Hart in the Gold division's fifth-place match, 21-25, 25-15, 15-8. The first game between the two squads was tightly contested, featuring five ties.

Burroughs came back to tie the first game at 10 after being down, 10-7. Hart came back to tie it at 11, 15 and 16. Megan Stephenson stepped up for Burroughs, as she did the entire tournament, and led her squad on a 9-5 run to close out the first game, 25-21, with three kills.

Burroughs kept the momentum early on in the second game, jumping out to a 4-0 lead behind three Stephenson kills. Hart bounced back and tied it up at 12 before distancing itself, going on a 13-3 run to take the second game, 25-15. Hart rode that victory to a 15-8 win in the third game as well.

"It wasn't our best, but we still put in a lot of effort," Burroughs outside hitter Laura Howard said. "We were all talking about how we're all really tired."

Stephenson finished with a team high 61 kills in the tournament. Howard's 26 kills was the second most for the Indians. Catarina Emerson and Keana Figueroa led Burroughs in assists with 67 and 50, respectively, in the tournament.

"This really prepares us for playoffs because it's good to be challenged and to see potential playoff teams," Howard said.

Crescenta Valley struggled to get anything going in its tournament. The Falcons were rolled by Pasadena Poly (which finished runner up in the gold division), 25-19, 25-10, in their first match Saturday.

It didn't get much easier for CV, as it was bounced in its opening match in the loser's bracket by Hart, 25-17, 25-11. The Falcons faced Pasadena in their final match of the day, but couldn't pull out a game, 25-16, 25-19.

Lee said the experience his players gained from the tournament is the most important thing, though. Many players who usually don't get a chance to play saw plenty of action, as Lee also had a CV White team — comprised of some junior varsity and varsity players — compete in the tournament and play six matches in two days.

"This is all gearing toward the playoffs," Lee said. "Hopefully, we can get it together and put a solid team out there."

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