GLENDALE — The last time Burbank High played Glendale in girls' volleyball a month ago, the Bulldogs rolled to a relatively easy three-game sweep in Pacific League play.
But the Nitros have continued to improve since that first meeting, earning a quality league win against Crescenta Valley and playing tough against league-leading Arcadia.
Glendale showed that improvement Tuesday, playing well and winning the first game against visiting Burbank. Unfortunately for the Nitros, they couldn't maintain their early momentum and the Bulldogs came back to earn a 24-26, 25-22, 25-23, 25-18 victory.
"They have improved since the last time we played them, said Burbank Coach Sarah Brown of Glendale. "They have some good results against some of the better teams in the league. But we knew that coming in and we knew we had to play hard against them."
Burbank (13-6, 9-3 in league), currently in third in league behind first-place Arcadia and second-place Burroughs, seemed to have trouble with the Nitros' height advantage in the first game. The Bulldogs hitters had problems getting the ball past the Glendale defenders, allowing the Nitros to dictate the tempo in the opener.
Glendale received a huge effort in the first game by Serena Snear, who tallied seven of her match-high 18 kills in the opener.
Although the Nitros played inspired volleyball to open the match, it was Burbank which was able to come back to take a 17-12 lead in the first. But the Nitros kept chopping away at the lead and went ahead, 22-21, on a kill by Snear. After a Glendale lift tied the score at 22, the Nitros went ahead again, 23-22, on a Bulldogs hitting error. However, the lead changed again when Burbank received consecutive kills from Ashlyn Edwards (10 kills, 12 digs) and Allison Tiegs (14 kills, four blocks), to go up, 24-23.
Facing game-point, the Nitros turned around their fortunes. A kill by Kirsten Cabarong (17 kills) and a block by Karah Hui put Glendale in control, 25-24. The Nitros ended the game on a kill by Cabarong.
"I really liked the way we played in the first game," Glendale co-Coach Ta'ase Mose said. "I thought we were going to be able to keep that going into the second set.
"But Burbank really came on with their serve after that and we had problems with our serve-receive. Basically, we lost those last three sets because of our serve-receive."
After losing the opening game, Brown made some adjustments and the Bulldogs began to play better.
"A lot of our games are like a roller coaster for us," said Burbank setter Lily Winn, who had 17 digs. "Sometimes we lose our energy and we have to concentrate to get it back. That causes us some problems sometimes."
Burbank led most of the way in the second game before Glendale tied the score at 16. But the Bulldogs scored the next five points to take control and eventually close out the stanza.
The Nitros (7-6, 5-5) looked good early in the third game until a big Burbank run left Glendale flat. Leading, 4-1, the Bulldogs enjoyed a 7-1 run — which included three aces from Winn — to surge ahead, 8-5. Burbank maintained the advantage until the Nitros went ahead, 19-18, and again at 22-21. But once again the Bulldogs battled back, erased the lead and won the game on a kill by Denise Daniel (15 kills).
The Bulldogs were in control for most of the fourth game, as the Nitros fell behind by 10 and the Bulldogs were able to maintain their momentum.
Plagued by uneven play throughout the season, Brown said she is still searching for a solution to the problem.
"I really don't know what it is. If I knew how to solve it would have been taken care of long ago," she said. "We have just had problems with our consistency all season long."
Justine Quinteros had 25 assists and Sara Treadway had 23 assists for Burbank.