As a part of the Burroughs High boys' volleyball team, Nick Van Loo and Tristin Martin took on opponents and enjoyed success side by side as senior teammates.
The two players went through their share of battles in the Pacific League for the Indians, as they tried to keep the program's streak of league championships alive. Van Loo and Martin did just that, helping pace the Indians to their fifth straight league title.
It is perhaps fitting that a duo that enjoyed success together during the season would be honored after it, as Martin and Van Loo were named the 2014 Pacific League co-Players of the Year.
The award marked the fifth straight season that a Burroughs player has been honored with the league's top accolade.
In all, six Burroughs players garnered all-league awards and three Burbank players earned accolades.
Earning first-team recognition from Burroughs was senior libero Danny Casillas and senior outside hitters Jonathan Fuentes. The lone first-teamer for the Bulldogs was senior outside hitter Joseph Servin.
Making the second team was sophomore Ryan Van Loo and senior Dalton Burroughs for the Indians and junior Willie Perryman of Burbank. Honorable-mention picks were senior Max Chamberlain of Burroughs and sophomore libero Paul Shim of Burbank.
"It is a really cool that both of them were able to win it together," said Burroughs Coach Joel Brinton, who was honored as the league's coach of the year. "It just really shows all the hard work and dedication that they put in this year. They both worked really hard.
"It's even more impressive for them to win it because Nick was only honorable-mention all-league last year at a different position. Tristin wasn't even a starter last year because he had so many talented guys playing ahead of him. But he really showed what he could do this season. For him to go from not even making all-league to being a player of the year is just awesome."
Van Loo was moved to the right side from the middle this past season, after the graduation of former All-CIF and player-of-the-year standout Daniel Jabobs.
"Nick begged me to move him to the right side this year," Brinton said.
The move paid big dividends, as Nick Van Loo proved to be a catalyst for the Indians' offense. He ended his campaign with 234 kills (tied for fourth most in a season), 60 aces (second most in a season) and 27.5 blocks. In addition, Van Loo had a season-high 21 kills against Glendale (fourth most in a match) and set a new school record with 59 assists in a nonleague win against Lakewood.
"I couldn't be more happy and honored to win something like this," Nick Van Loo said. "It was a personal goal for me at the beginning of the season and I just wanted to try my best and just try to be the best.
"It just felt to much better to win this with one of my brothers on the team, rather than just having it myself. I just love sharing with Tristan."
Martin, an outside hitter and a team captain, proved to be a consistent force for the Indians. Nothing illustrates that more then the Indians' consistency with his serving. On the season, Martin made an amazing 97% of his serves, missing just six in 213 attempts. In addition, he tallied 186 kills, 12 aces, 15.5 blocks and 114 digs.
"For me, I really wasn't expecting an award like this, let along sharing it with Nick," Martin said. "It was a complete surprise. When I heard that Nick and I got it together, that was pretty special. We are like a big family, and to win that with him really means a lot. I got it with one of my brothers, and you can't beat that."
Fuentes and Casillas ended their season after enjoying successful careers at Burroughs. While Fuentes had 122 kills, 118 digs, 16 aces and 13 blocks, Casillas set new school record with 257 digs.
For the second-teamers, Burroughs, a team captain, had 170 kills and led squad in hitting hitting percentage at .333. In addition, he tallied 10.5 blocks, and 11 aces. Captain Ryan Van Loo had 31 aces (tied for fifth most in a season), 34.5 blocks, set a new school record with 812 assists, had 149 digs (second on the team) and 46 kills. Chamberlain had 167 kills, 37 blocks and 13 aces.
The Burroughs contingent helped the Indians (21-8) roll through the Pacific League with a 12-0 record, surrendering just a single game in the process.
Burbank (16-6) also enjoyed success during the 2014 campaign. The Bulldogs placed second in league, as the runner-up finish was the program's highest showing in the Pacific League.
"I'll be honest, finishing in second place I was hoping that we were going to get more of our players on the all-league selection," Burbank Coach Patrick McMenamin said. "So, I was a little disappointed walking away. Teams that have finished second in the past have gotten more all-league players. But I'm happy with the three that we got on there."
Leading the Burbank all-league trio was Servin. The senior led the team in kills with 185 to go along with 101 digs, 15 aces and 12 blocks.
"Joseph was our best offensive weapon and was also elected our team MVP," McMenamin said. "The thing about him is that he rarely had a bad game.
"We had been with us as a freshman, and he is the ideal example of what we want in our program. He climbed through the ranks and made it to varsity the last two years."
While Perryman had 148 kills, 81 blocks, 51 digs and 12 aces and Shim had 232 digs and had 18 aces.
Follow Jeff Tully on Twitter: @jefftsports.</p