Sundevils come from behind, beat Burroughs in five

There is no doubt, the Lady Burros volleyball team wanted this game.

Their gameplay said it. Rather than give the Apple Valley Sundevils a walk in the park, they prevented the coffin from closing on numerous occasions, ensuring that their adversaries sweat this one out.

But as tough as it turned out, Apple Valley pulled away, coming from behind to beat the Lady Burros in five sets 25-21, 25-22, 22-25, 22-25, 13-15 Wednesday night.

“Over a week ago, we had a conversation about what the girls want and what they felt their shortfalls were,” said Burroughs head coach Kristin Bobadilla. “Things like that helped. Our last match (against Oak Hills), we played really well. Since last week, we continue to fight really hard. The girls are feeling like they’re playing with more momentum and passion. Now, we just have to shut the door behind us.”

Olivia Henden had 12 kills in the match, and Caroline Pillers added 10. Hunter Scott (nine) and Rebekah Baur (eight) were near double-digits in that category. From the serving line, the Lady Burros had 17 aces as a team, with three (Dahlia Stucky, Scott, and Amelie Zubia) tallying four apiece. 

But the noticeable, and momentum-shifting, part of the game came defensively. The Lady Burros had block after block which, in many cases, went their way. In others, the block giveth and the block taketh away. 

Out of the team’s eight total blocks, Henden and Makayla Sandoval had four blocks apiece, Scott had three, and Pillers had two. As a team, the Lady Burros committed six blocking errors. 

“That’s just coaching and them wanting to block,” Bobadilla said. “Other than whatever was going through their heads, that was it. Coach Gary (Beckstrom) and I worked on having them know what’s the difference between a good block and a bad block in practice.”

The first set threatened to be the same song and dance for the Lady Burros, with Apple Valley going up 3-0 to start. Burroughs, behind its bold blocking, moved its way up midway through the set, earning its first lead 19-18. Scott’s spike landed untouched near the baseline to give the Lady Burros the 25-21 set win.

Fueled by that momentum, Burroughs began the second set on a 5-0 run, but the Sundevils countered with a 4-0 run of their own to stay in the neighborhood. Apple Valley eventually caught up 15-15, but another strong block kept the game in the home team’s favor. Set point happened when Caroline Pillers’ serve touched Sundevil hands, then landed in their own territory.

The third frame was the first in which things started evenly, both teams going back and forth at the start. Apple Valley eventually pulled away, getting up to 17-13 before Bobadilla called timeout. Afterward, the Lady Burros took advantage of set-point woes for the Sundevils, but a bad block prevented a sweep, giving the Sundevils a point. 

Set 4 was similar to the previous, with both teams neck-and-neck down the stretch. But Lady Burro errors down the stretch widened the gap between Apple Valley and Burroughs, with an attack error forcing a fifth set. 

In the deciding match, the first four points – split among both teams – were earned off kills. Apple Valley then pulled away, ballooning its lead to 7-2. The Lady Burros, by way of Sundevil errors and a timely ace by Zubia, came within two, 9-7. After Sundevil hitter Alexandria Parisian’s powerful spike gave her team a 10-7 lead, Bobadilla called timeout.

“I asked them, point blank, ‘Do you want to win?’ ” she said. “They said yes, I said show me.”

The Lady Burros worked their way back, coming within one after Stucky served two consecutive aces on Apple Valley’s match point. The Sundevils called timeout, regrouped, and a Lady Burro hitting error ended the match.

“You can’t miss serves in Game 5, you can’t make serving errors in Game 5, you can’t make hitting errors in Game 5,” Bobadilla said. “The fact that they got 15-13 in the fifth means that they wanted it, but you gotta close the door.” 

Burroughs (14-10, 0-7 MRL) will next visit Serrano (17-2, 7-0) on Monday.