By Austin Green
Despite an early one-set lead and outside hitter Jonathan Coleman’s team-high 14 kills, Burbank fell to Laguna Hills on the road, three sets to one, in the first round of the CIF Southern Section playoffs on Tuesday. The scores were 25-20, 19-25, 20-25, 21-25.
Coleman also had an impressive 16 digs, second only to libero Meena Amari’s 19, and a service ace. Amari also led the Bulldogs in aces with two.
Outside hitter Choy Jimenez had 11 kills, six digs and an ace. Opposite hitter Alekhine Basco had seven kills and seven digs while middle blocker Matthew Ballash had seven kills, four digs and an ace. Setter Christian Choe had eight digs and an ace while middle blocker Kristian Bankston had a dig and an ace of his own.
To no surprise, the Bulldogs played through Coleman early and reaped the rewards, pulling away late in the first set after a Coleman kill put the score at 17-14.
Laguna Hills took an early lead in the second set, but Burbank made a push, narrowing the deficit to as little as three on a block from Coleman and Ballash. A late run from Laguna Hills, however, slammed the door and tied the match at one set apiece.
The home team stayed in control from there, staying one step ahead of Burbank. The Bulldogs hung around but could not gain a foothold to retake the lead, dropping the next two sets despite reaching the 20-point threshold in both of them.
Burbank, the Pacific League runner-up, finished the season with a 4-2 overall record (3-1 in league).
The Bears passed their first test of the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs by sweeping visiting Valencia, 25-18, 25-21, 25-16, in a second-round match on Thursday.
Burroughs (8-1 overall), which finished the season ranked No. 10 and earned a first-round bye, moves on to the quarterfinals and will host No. 2-seeded Huntington Beach on Wednesday, May 26, at 6 p.m.. The Oilers (12-4 overall) are coming off a three-set victory over Thousand Oaks in a second-round contest.