BURBANK — Having graduated 10 seniors, a Burbank High boys' volleyball team with plenty of new faces was eager to see how the new squad would gel.
The Bulldogs got that chance Tuesday afternoon when they hosted Alhambra in a nonleague game to open their season.
In the early going, it didn't look good for Burbank, which dropped the first two games to the Moors. But the Bulldogs battled back and claimed a hard-fought five-game victory, 19-25, 21-25, 25-18, 25-17, 15-12.
Since reviving its program three years ago, it was the first five-game win for Burbank.
"With 10 graduating seniors, I think it kinda showed in those first two games," Burbank Coach Patrick McMenamin said. "We were just making too many mistakes, bonehead mistakes we like to call them. We just didn't play well in those two games."
With the match tied at two games, Burbank looked to have the momentum going into the crucial fifth game. And the Bulldogs quickly jumped out to an 8-2 advantage in the fifth. But the Moors (0-1) didn't give up without a fight and when Burbank committed a hitting error the lead had been cut to one, 11-10.
However, the Bulldogs showed resiliency, creating breathing room and eventually finishing off Alhambra.
"It was great that we were able to come back like that," McMenamin said. "That's what we want to see."
Willie Perryman had 10 kills and six blocks, Joseph Servin had 10 kills, Justin Saisirikull had 12 digs and Isaiah Torres contributed 19 digs for Burbank.
The Bulldogs looked like a young team that was out of sync in the first two games. Although Alhambra wasn't able to overpower the Bulldogs, a wealth of unforced errors benefited the Moors.
"Being the first game of the season, I just think we weren't prepared," Servin said. "We just weren't doing the things that we needed to do to win."
Things began to turn around for Burbank in the third game. Down early, the Bulldogs came back and took control.
Burbank was able to keep that momentum going in the fourth game. The hosts went up early and never relinquished the lead.
"This is the third straight year our match with Alhambra has gone five games," McMenamin said. "They always seem to give us a good battle and that was the case today."