BURBANK — Burroughs High’s boys’ volleyball team, ranked No. 8 in CIF-Southern Section II, began Pacific league play this season hosting Arcadia, which came into the Indians’ league opener with three league matches already under its belt.
However, that made no difference on Friday afternoon, as Burroughs came out strong and rode the momentum to a convincing sweep of the Apaches 25-7, 25-19, 25-7, featuring a balanced attack and strong defense by the host team, which began defense of the league crown.
“It was a great way to start since it was our league opener,” Burroughs Coach Joel Brinton said. “It was getting off to the right start to try to go for our fifth straight league title.”
After failing to return the opening serve of the contest, Burroughs (8-3, 1-0) took off on a 12-0 run and never looked back, taking the first game, 25-7. The final margin of 18 was the largest advantage of the opening game and came to a close when Nick Van Loo and Max Chamberlain combined for a block at the net.
“We established our outsides and our middles pretty early on in the game and Arcadia just couldn’t stop it,” Chamberlain said.
It was Nick Van Loo who served his team through the 12-0 run, recording two of his four aces on the day in the process.
“The start was very important,” Van Loo said. “Recently we’ve gotten off with some slow starts and we just wanted to prove to ourselves that we can come out strong.”
The senior’s service game was effective throughout the three games, as several of his offerings that were returned by the scrambling Apaches (9-2, 2-2) came back floating over the net and set up his teammates, who repeatedly feasted on them for high-velocity kills.
“I just focus on the next point. Get the serve in, make it tough and hopefully get the point,” Van Loo, who also had four kills, said.
The offense for Burroughs came from a variety of sources and locations, leading to a three-way tie for the kills lead. Chamberlain, Cameron Capili and Jonathan Fuentes shared the honor with eight kills apiece.
“This year we like it,” Brinton said. “We’ve got a nice balance across the board, so wherever we want, whatever we want to try to do, we’re confident we can go to that person.”
Across the board Burroughs had superior size and power. Case in point was the 6-foot-6 Chamberlain, whose resounding kill from his middle position to open game three rocketed off an Apache defender to set the tone for the final game. The junior’s development in his first year of varsity play has been a bright spot for the Indians.
“I played JV last year and then I had a really good club season, so everything I learned there got implemented on the varsity team,” Chamberlain said, “and, with the coaches’ help, they’ve helped me to become really good and what I am today. [As a team] we’re stacked pretty much.”
Burroughs’ defense almost completely muted the attack of the Apaches, especially in the first and final games. Leading the Indians in that department was libero Danny Casillas, who had 10 digs. From his position as setter, Ryan Van Loo, who had 36 assists, was second on his team with seven digs.
“Our defense was really great,” Chamberlain said. “It made the middle’s job a lot easier. It helped a lot.”
Game two saw the Apaches hang around, as the Indians played with less precision. The visitors were as close as three at 16-13, but Burroughs never really lost control of the game, which ended on an Arcadia service error.
“The guys came out very determined and intense that first game,” Brinton said. “Slacked off [in the second], but the nice thing I saw was that they noticed their mistake and picked it up in that third game.”
Game three was all Burroughs, as the Indians resumed their sharp play scored the last six points of the match. The game ended on a kill from the back line by Daniel Powell, who also had two aces during the run. The Indians, as they did in the first game, once again notched an 18-point win, as the Apaches failed to mount any offense in the final game, with five of their seven points gifted to them by bad Burroughs serves.
“We’re just going to take it one game at a time all the way through,” the elder Van Loo said of going forward.