In a dramatic first game that saw the teams combine for 60 points, the Falcons were on the brink of winning the stanza four times, but couldn’t take advantage of any of the game-point opportunities.
Despite being down, Crescenta Valley didn’t roll over. In fact, the Falcons ramped up their game.
What followed was a dramatic and improbable comeback by Crescenta Valley, which rallied to win the next three games and eventually walked away with a 29-31, 24-26, 25-19, 25-21, 15-9 win that left the host Bulldogs dejected and frustrated.
“We were kind of bummed with the way we lost that first game, with all the effort that we put in to it,” Crescenta Valley’s Cassidy Iannello said. “We work hard in practice to try and be able to come back in games like this. It’s just nice to see that all the hard work that we put in can pay off.”
It made for consecutive five-game league matches for the Falcons (2-2, 2-1 in league), who fell to Burroughs at home Tuesday, 25-21, 23-25, 25-18, 20-25, 15-13.
But unlike Tuesday when CV Coach Jen Ku Lee said his team fluctuated in the crucial fifth game, his players were more relaxed against the co-defending-league-champion Bulldogs (2-3, 1-2).
“In that fifth game against Burroughs the other day, we were really up and down with our intensity,” Lee said. “But I told them this time just to be more steady and try not to get too excited. I thought they did a lot better job at that and I think that really helped us in that fifth game.”
The fifth game was relatively anticlimactic compared to the early games of the contest. The Falcons jumped out to a 3-0 lead after a Burbank net violation. Crescenta Valley was able to maintain an advantage until Burbank tied the score at 6 on a kill by Nicole Maihot. But the Falcons embarked on a 6-0 run to take control of the stanza.
Crescenta Valley secured the victory on a Burbank hitting error that went wide.
“You can only dig yourself out of a hole so many times, and we were digging ourselves out of holes all day,” Burbank Coach Sarah Brown said.
“To take nothing away from CV, I just didn’t think we were going to lose. But we just couldn’t close it out and we made a lot of silly mistakes.”
The Falcons received 10 kills from Sabrina Shahbandeh and eight from Iannello.
The opening game set the tone for the match. Crescenta Valley enjoyed a four-point lead, 18-14, and looked to be on its way to an early one-game advantage. But Burbank rallied back and surged out to a 23-22 edge on a Falcons’ service error. After Crescenta Valley went back ahead, 24-23, it had a chance to close it out, but an attacking error gave Burbank new life.
What followed were three more Crescenta Valley game-point situations and two by Burbank. Up, 30-29, after a block by Bulldogs’ Justine Quinteros, Burbank won the game on a Crescenta Valley hitting error.
Undaunted, the Falcons battled back in the second game and enjoyed a six-point lead, 19-13. But yet again Burbank would not go away, and when Allison Tiegs (team-high 14 kills) tallied a kill, the Bulldogs had moved in front, 24-23. However, a kill by Shahbandeh prevented the Bulldogs from winning the stanza. Unfortunately for the Falcons, consecutive errors eventually allowed the Bulldogs to win and go up, 2-0 in games.
“To be able to come back after losing those first two games like that is all on them,” Lee said of his team, which received 17 assists from Marina Torres. “We try to teach them that situational pressure to try and get them used to things like this, but just to embrace that pressure and to thrive in it says a lot about them. This really showed who they are.”
After leading almost throughout the third game, Burbank took an early 7-6 lead in the fourth. But the Falcons took control and led the remainder of the game.
Burbank received 12 kills from Rose Cowart, 11 from Ashlyn Edwards, eight from Denise Daniel, 42 assists from Sara Trewday and 28 digs from Lily Winn.