LA CRESCENTA — The Burroughs High boys' volleyball team had a definite motivating factor in its Pacific League match Thursday evening against host Crescenta Valley.
With just one loss in league, the Indians hoped to keep within striking distance of first-place Claremont and force a showdown for the league championship against the Wolfpack on Tuesday.
For the Falcons, they were looking to keep improving and stay in contention for a playoff spot with just one league match remaining.
Unfortunately for Crescenta Valley, Burroughs had just too much firepower, as the Indians rolled to a 25-11, 25-15, 25-13 victory.
"Tonight I thought that we played great," Crescenta Valley Coach John Nelson said. "We came out motivated, we showed a lot of emotion and we battled well. But when it comes down to it, [Burroughs] just has some things that we don't have. It's a simple as that."
With Claremont defeating Arcadia on Thursday, the Wolfpack (11-0 in league) — ranked No. 6 in CIF Southern Section Division II — have a one-match lead over Burroughs (17-4, 10-1) — the No. 10-ranked team in Division II. The teams, which shared the league championship last season, will battle in the regular-season finale for both squads at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Claremont.
The last time the teams battled March 29 at Burroughs, the Wolfpack pulled out a close victory, 25-23, 23-25, 25-23, 20-25, 17-15.
"I hate to say it, but this game with them has been pretty much our motivation for the past few weeks," Burroughs Coach Joel Britton said. "We want April 30 to be tomorrow so we can play. That day can't come soon enough for us. We are excited about it and we're looking forward to it."
With Claremont, Burroughs and Burbank taking up the top three automatic playoff spots from the league, that leaves the Falcons (7-10, 5-6) and the Apaches (5-6 in league) to battle it out for the final berth at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at Arcadia.
"We are learning and we are getting better every game," Nelson said. "That's all we want to do, keep improving. I just hope we don't run out of season before we make the playoffs."
Against the Falcons, the Indians received a fine effort from 6-foot-6 middle Shayne Beamer, who had a match-high nine kills. Last year's co-league player of the year, Daniel Jacobs, added nine kills. Teammate BJ Lagmay had 28 assists.
With most opponents keying on Jacobs, Britton said players like Beamer are going to have to step up and help shoulder their share of responsibility.
"Without a doubt, we are going to need Shayne to play well if we're going to be successful," Britton said. "And we had some other guys step up today and help us out a great deal."
Crescenta Valley received six kills from Raymond Barsemian.
The Indians began slowly in the first game, as the Falcons held a 3-2 lead thanks to two Burroughs unforced errors. But the Indians quickly recovered and surged out in front, 4-3, on a kill by Beamer. The Indians turned up the heat from that point on and the Falcons were left in their wake.
The second game saw Burroughs rattle of five straight points, thanks in part to two aces from Nick Van Loo (five kills, three aces). The Falcons got as close as three, 9-6, before the Indians again hit the gas and surged ahead.
"I was very happy with the way we played today," Burroughs' Daniel Marbach said. "We were all on key and we all came to play, we all did our jobs and we had fun."
Burroughs took control of the third game at 3-2 and never trailed thereafter.