SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — Aware that the Glendale High girls' volleyball team had shown marked improvement, Burroughs searched for a way to quell that upswing when the teams met Tuesday afternoon in the first of two head-to-head season contests.
The Indians turned to their duo of Laura Howard and Caitlin Cottrell to keep the Nitros at bay.
Howard finished with 11 kills and Cottrell added eight to spark visiting Burroughs to a 25-18, 25-16, 25-14 Pacific League victory.
"We knew Glendale has improved a lot," said Burroughs Coach Edwin Real, whose team is 2-2, 2-0 in league and ranked No. 8 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division II-A poll. "They beat us in the summer, and we took that a little personal.
"We knew they beat Crescenta Valley [on Thursday] and we had to come prepared to play. The league has gotten more competitive."
Glendale (3-4, 1-1) had trouble getting things going on offense Tuesday, and couldn't match the intensity it generated against Crescenta Valley.
Howard and Cottrell made it a point to disrupt the Nitros' offensive flow.
"We'd seen they'd gotten some wins and we heard about how good their defense has been," Howard said. "They also have some good offensive players who we tried to shut down.
"We had to multiply our confidence by 10 against them. We had a long serving run in the second game and that gave us a chance to collect ourselves."
In the second game, Burroughs went on an 8-0 run to grab a 14-3 advantage. Glendale could get no closer than 21-13.
Glendale Coach Jennifer Vo said the Nitros couldn't crack Burroughs' crisp serving throughout the match.
"They served very well and we couldn't pass their serves," said Vo, who received six kills from Kirsten Cabarong and 11 digs from Sevana Stepanian. "We have to get better service-receiving.
"We couldn't get past them. Maybe it was just a bad day."
In the first game, Howard collected four kills and a pair of aces. Cottrell had three kills with the last one coming on game point.
A kill by Cottrell in the third game gave Burroughs a 12-11 lead. Burroughs then went on another 8-0 run to make it 23-13. An ace by Keana Figueroa closed out the match.
Howard concluded the second game with a kill.
Real, whose team began league Thursday with a victory against Hoover, praised Howard's performance.
"When she's on, she very good," said Real, whose team is the defending league champion. "She can go out there and have things under control and dominate.
"It starts with her serving."
The teams will meet again at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at Burroughs.