NORTHWEST GLENDALE — In a match that was years in the making, the Hoover High boys’ volleyball team missed an opportunity to pick up its first victory this season after a 25-18, 25-20, 25-17 Pacific League defeat to visiting Burbank on Wednesday afternoon.
“We came out really excited and I think we got overly excited and played really tentative and made a lot of mistakes,” Tornadoes co-Coach Christian Hong said. “Burbank did a good job with their serve, they served really tough on us and we just didn’t play as well as our ability.”
The victory was the fourth in a row for surging Burbank (4-10 overall, 1-3 in league), which is playing its first varsity volleyball season since 2008. The defeat was the fifth straight for Hoover (0-5, 0-4), which is also returning to varsity volleyball after a one-year hiatus.
As expected, both teams showed inexperience that was evident in the first game, as 12 of Burbank’s 25 points came via Tornadoes errors, while the Bulldogs themselves surrendered 13 points on errors.
The most contentious action came in the second game as Hoover raced out to an 8-3 advantage fueled by a pair of aces from senior John Tranquena.
Yet, Burbank rallied for five straight points in tying and eventually went up, 14-10, behind a service error, consecutive lifting calls on Hoover and a kill from Bulldogs’ junior outside hitter Elijah Cowart.
“We played our hardest and tried to make as few unforced errors as possible,” said Bulldogs junior opposite John You, who finished with six kills and three aces. “When we didn’t make mistakes and let [Hoover] make mistakes, we did really well.”
Hoover pulled within 14-12 and then 15-13 before the Bulldogs mounted a 6-0 run during the serve of senior James Kim, who contributed an ace to the spurt.
The Tornadoes scored the next four points to close within 21-17, but again, never came any nearer in eventually falling when Bulldogs senior setter Armen Sargsyan blocked Tranquena for the game-winner.
“We came in here expecting to win and got over-excited and kept on making the same mistakes over and over,” said Hoover senior outside hitter Jinhyuk Jang, who led his team with five kills and an ace. “It was just mistakes that cost us.”
Hoover stayed closest in the third game, taking a 13-12 advantage after an ace from Jang and was later tied up at 16.
From that point on, however, the Bulldogs closed out the game and the match with a 9-1 run.
“This is the first time that we won any match three sets to zero,” Burbank Coach Patrick McMenamin said. “This had been a goal for us for the season and I’m glad to see that we finally achieved it today.”
Senior Mitch Camacho added five aces and four kills to Burbank’s effort, while Kim chipped in four aces and Cowart contributed three kills, three aces and a block.
Senior middle blocker Elijah Funtiveros added two blocks and two kills for Hoover and Angelo Murrillo also finished with two aces.