BURBANK — The last time the Burbank High and Crescenta Valley boys' volleyball teams played in a Pacific League contest, the Falcons struggled and the Bulldogs were able to come away with a relatively easy three-game sweep.
Although Crescenta Valley played better in the early going in Wednesday's second meeting between the teams, Burbank captured the first two games and another sweep looked like a definite possibility.
But the Falcons didn't wilt under the pressure, coming back to win the third game and were one point away from forcing a winner-take-all fifth game after taking control in the fourth.
However, Burbank battled back in the fourth, winning the game and securing a 25-18, 25-18, 22-25, 29-27 victory at home.
The win keeps the Bulldogs (5-7, 5-2 in league) in the running for their first playoff appearance since reviving the program two years ago.
"You could see that [Crescenta Valley] changed some things up since the last time that we played them," said Burbank's John You, who had a team-high six kills. "They were blocking us differently and they were playing a lot better."
Crescenta Valley (5-8, 3-4) stormed back after being down late in the fourth game, 21-20, and when Alex Shin delivered a kill, the Falcons were one point away from sending the match to a fifth game at 24-21. But the Falcons couldn't close out the game.
Two Falcons errors and a kill by Joshua Wright (five kills) knotted the score at 24. Wright dumped a winner on the next point to put the Bulldogs a point away from wrapping up the match. However, Shin came up with a kill to again tie the contest, this time at 25.
Two more times Burbank had the opportunity to finish off the Falcons — at 26-25 and 27-26 — but Crescenta Valley wouldn't give in. After The Falcons tied it once again at 27 on another Shin kill, a Wright kill had the Bulldogs serving for match-point. When Wright's serve wasn't able to be returned by the Falcons, the Bulldogs celebrated the victory.
Shin had nine kills and Min Kim added eight.
"We're getting better and we're working out some of the things we have had problems with in the past," Crescenta Valley Coach John Nelson said. "We played three different lineups in the first three games today, so I'm not sure how much that helps with our consistency. But I thought we played hard and the guys gave a great effort."
Burbank received five blocks from Elijah Cowart and 11 digs from Derian Blandon.
The Falcons only led early, by identical 9-8 scores, in both the first and second games. But the Bulldogs stormed back in both stanzas and never trailed thereafter.
It was a different story in the third, however, as Burbank went in front, 5-4, on a stuff block by Coward. But the Falcons seized the momentum, at one point going on a 10-2 run, to take a 14-9 advantage. The Bulldogs did get to within two, 24-22, but a Shin kill gave the Falcons the game.
In the fourth game, Burbank trailed by as many as seven, 17-10. But the Bulldogs kept chipping away at the lead and never let the Falcons build more of an advantage.
"They made some adjustments on us early on, but we also made some adjustments in that fourth game as well," Burbank Coach Patrick McMenamin said. "That helped us a great deal."