BURBANK HIGH — Communication, chemistry and consistency are all important elements to winning volleyball, and the Burbank High girls’ squad displayed all three in its nonleague victory Tuesday against visiting Canyon.
“The way we played together, our communication, and all the chemistry that we have [paid dividends],” Burbank senior Katie Hooper said were the keys to their second win in as many matches this season.
Burbank won, 25-18, 22-25, 25-20, 25-22, to stay unbeaten going into Pacific League play, which starts Thursday against host Muir.
The Bulldogs handed the Cowboys (3-1) their first defeat using a consistent and well-rounded attack. This was the mirror image of last season when Canyon beat visiting Burbank in five gams in the season-opener for the Bulldogs (2-0).
Hooper led the way for Burbank, finishing with 10 kills, which tied her with sophomore Rose Cowart for the team lead. Hooper also had 11 digs and was one of three Bulldogs to reach double-digit digs in the key defensive category. Stefanie Lin led the way with 14 and sophomore Sara Treadway also had 11 digs to go along with 17 assists. Senior Tyler Brooks was the Bulldogs’ top table-setter with 19 assists.
“The team that Burbank is…they’re a very solid, structured volleyball team and that is what we are striving to be,” Canyon Coach Brandon Johnson said. “If we can be like them, we are going to be very successful.”
The Bulldogs hung tough in the fourth game, trailing by as many as four through most of the stanza before drawing even at 20. The score was again tied at 22 when Rachael Woods unleashed a shot that ricocheted off Cowboy Caitlyn-Ashlie Catabona for the winner.
The return of Hailey Bradford’s ensuing serve by Canyon’s Sarah Greenwood (20 digs) sailed out of bounds. Bulldogs Sharon Youn then secured the victory for the Burbank with a block at the net and a 25-22 win.
Youn, a senior, finished the match with nine kills, six digs and four blocks.
“At the end of the game is when you really when to play consistent and solid. We’ve really been working on that, so it is nice to see them actually do that,” Burbank Coach Sarah Brown said.
Burbank took a sizable lead early in the third game with its advantage peaking at 16-8 before hanging on after Canyon cut into the lead late. With Burbank leading, 23-20, Youn got a kill from the center position. Jamie Gonzalez then finished the job with a kill that went off the top of a Canyon blockers’ fingers for the final point and a 25-20 win in the third game.
In the first game, Youn broke a 10-10 tie with one of her nine kills, and the Bulldogs never trailed again. Woods finished the game at 25-18 with a soft one-handed winner that found the floor to end the longest rally of the match to that point.
The Bulldogs fell behind by as many as nine in the second game, thanks mainly to excellent serving by the Cowboys. The hosts then came storming back only to come up short, 22-25.
Burbank trailed, 23-14, before reeling off eight straight points with Bradford serving to draw within one, 23-22, forcing Canyon to call a timeout. After the break, the visitors got a kill from Mackenzie¿ Thurston and then a net violation on Burbank to take the game.
“[Canyon] was really serving tough,” Brown said. “They were really serving small areas on the court. I thought they did a real good job serving, we made some adjustments to come out with that victory.
“[We put] more passers out there or changed the way the passing looks. Sometimes that messes with the server because it looks different on the other side.”
The Cowboys finished with 14 aces, led by Lauren Underwood’s six.