BURBANK — The Burroughs High boys' volleyball team isn't accustomed to having to fight back from a two-game deficit this season.
It happened twice, once in a three-game loss to Oak Park and the other in a five-game victory against Lakewood. But both of those results came in March and the Indians haven't been pushed since.
That was until Thursday evening.
Burroughs lost the first two games against Long Beach Poly in the second round of the CIF Southern Section playoffs. Despite the deficit, the Indians battled back, won the third game and were two points away from taking the fourth and forcing a winner-take-all fifth game.
But the Jackrabbits buckled down in the fourth, seized control and sent the Indians packing, winning 25-13, 25-21, 14-25, 27-25.
"I just think we just tried to do too much in those first two games," Burroughs' Max Chamberlain said. "That's what really hurt us and that helped them win the first two games."
The win served as a redemption for Poly (29-5), which won the Moore League championship. The Jackrabbits played Burroughs in a Redondo Tournament contest March 8 and Burroughs came out on top, 14-25, 25-23, 15-4.
Burroughs Coach Joel Brinton said the Poly team he faced Thursday was vastly different than the one his team went against more than two months ago.
"They are much better than the last time we saw them," Brinton said. "Their passing is a lot more consistent, their middles did a little bit more and their outside hitting is a lot stronger.
"We just did not play our style of volleyball. In the fourth game we did, but especially in those first two games, we just didn't play like I know we are capable of playing."
The loss concluded a season in which Burroughs (21-8) captured its fifth straight Pacific League championship.
The Indians were led by Nick Van Loo, who had a team-high 10 kills. Chamberlain and Dalton Burroughs added eight kills each, Ryan Van Loo had 36 assists and Andrew Dalnada had four aces.
After losing the first two games and facing being swept in three games, the Indians came out energized in the third game. When Burroughs and Nick Van Loo teamed up on a combo block, Burroughs enjoyed a seven-point advantage, 11-4. The Jackrabbits were only able to get to within six points of the lead the remainder of the game.
Burroughs again opened strong in the fourth game, jumping out to a 6-1 advantage. But Poly was able to keep things close, as the teams battled to five lead changes in the stanza. After the teams took turns swapping the lead late, Burroughs looked to have things in hand, 23-22, following a kill by Nick Van Loo.
"In that fourth game, they just served a little better and passed a little better than we did," Brinton said. "We thought we had things going our way in that fourth game, but we had some problems with our passing, and you could kind of feel it change late in that game."
Down by one in the fourth, Poly received a kill from Charles Aoga (12 kills) and a combo block from Adrian Carillo and Reid Harrison to take the lead, 24-23. Burroughs was able to tie the score three times after that point, the last coming at 25-25 on a kill from Chamberlain. But the Jackrabbits got a kill from Ricky Ah Hong and Burroughs committed a hitting error to end the match.
In the opening game, Poly's Joey Savala (13 kills) helped his team take the lead, 4-3, and never relinquish the advantage thereafter.
The Indians enjoyed a 19-18 lead late in the second game, only to see Poly surge back in front, 20-19, and end the game on a 5-2 run to take a two-game advantage.