BURBANK — Twice one point away from grabbing sole possession of first place in the Pacific League, the Burroughs High boys’ volleyball team couldn’t close the deal.
It left the Indians frustrated, but something they won’t forget the rest of the way.
“It comes down to execution,” said Burroughs Coach Joel Brinton, who saw visiting Claremont post a 25-23, 23-25, 25-23, 20-25, 17-15 win against the Indians on Friday night. “They executed and we didn’t. Period.
“It’s a tough loss, but it’s something we need to learn from. We knew this was going to be a battle and it was. It was a great match. When we needed to execute [in the fifth game], we couldn’t get it done. Hopefully, we will learn from this.”
Claremont, ranked No. 6 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division II poll, improved to 14-4, 4-1 in league. Burroughs, eighth in the division, fell to 9-4, 3-1. The teams, which split the league championship last season, will meet in a regular-season finale at 6 p.m. April 30 at Claremont.
Burroughs took a 14-12 lead in the deciding fifth game on an ace by Daniel Jacobs. Claremont called timeout to regroup and tied it on a ace by Stan Reeder. The Wolf Pack grabbed a 15-14 lead before Burroughs’ Jonathan Fuentes tied it at 15. A kill by Joey Davis gave Claremont a 16-15 advantage before the Indians were called for a double contact violation to seal it for the Wolf Pack.
Jacobs, who finished with a match-best 26 kills, said the Indians couldn’t solve the Wolf Pack in the clinching game.
“In a fifth-game situation, it comes down to being able to stay calm and being able to execute,” said Jacobs, the reigning league co-most valuable player who finished with three kills in the fifth game. “We got ahead at 14-12 and couldn’t put it away.
“It’s a time when you can’t be upset or joyous. We want to be able to bounce back and be in line to have a shot at beating [Claremont] the next time.”
Claremont Coach Bernie Wendling said the Wolf Pack were able to turn to many of their seniors when they began to mount their comeback in the finale.
“When you have a lot of seniors, like we do, they understand there’s a sense of urgency and they know how to right the ship,” said Wendling, who got 14 kills from Stephen Zetterberg and 10 from Davis. “These were two great teams that went out there because they love to compete.
“It was a privilege to coach in a game like this one. Joel is doing a great job at Burroughs He’s got them going in the right direction again.”
Burroughs clinched the fourth game on a kill by Shayne Beamer. Beamer finished the match with 14 kills.
In the third game, Claremont built a 24-20 lead. Burroughs notched the next three points, but couldn’t catch Claremont.
Burroughs led throughout the second game, jumping out to a 15-7 lead on a kill by Daniel Marbach. Claremont closed to within 24-23 on a kill by Zetterberg. However, Jacobs finished with a kill to tie it at one game apiece.
The Indians, who got 46 assists and 14 digs from BJ Lagmay, held a 23-21 lead in the first game before Claremont finished up on a 4-0 run.
Burroughs, which had 20 digs from Danny Casillas and 19 from Derrik Nicandro, will next compete in a league match at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday against visiting Crescenta Valley.