“They are a good and solid team at every position,” Brinton said. “They have a good hitter who could effectively put the ball away at every position.”
Valley Christian (25-3) — the Olympic League champion — was also a team that played its best volleyball when it held a lead.
The Crusaders — who have swept 24 of their opponents this season — did not trail in the first and third games. Burroughs controlled the start of the second game, but once Valley Christian took a 12-11 lead, it never trailed again.
“We’re used to being ahead,” Valley Christian Coach Rob Samuelson said. “We won every one of our league games, 3-0. We were waiting for a good challenge.”
It was a challenge for the Indians to stop the Crusaders’ weapons.
Senior Tanner Miller had 13 kills and three blocks, teammate Kyle Pollema had seven kills and Brett Anema added seven kills and three blocks. Setter Dean Pollema had 24 assists.
“We have the ability to spread the ball around,” Samuelson said. “We don’t rely on one or two players. That’s been our strength all year.”
Samuelson said his team was weary of the Indians (23-8), especially because Burroughs defeated Claremont, a squad that the Crusaders lost to.
“That put a scare in us,” Samuelson said.
The Crusaders — who’ll host Thousand Oaks in the quarterfinals today — were determined from the outset, and the Indians had no answers.
“We weren’t on our game,” said Burroughs outside hitter Lucas Yanez, who had a match-high 15 kills. “We just fell apart. We’re not used to things going wrong.”
The Indians, in just their fourth year of existence, have plenty to build on, though.
Yanez and his brother, Tyler, both return next season. Tyler Yanez had a match-high 23 assists. Sophomores Ike Nwachie (seven kills and two blocks) and Robert Rutecki (three kills) will also return, as will starters Kevin Trejo and Nick La France.
“We sent a message about [Burroughs volleyball],” Brinton said. “It’s unfortunate this is the way it [ended]. Hopefully this leaves a bitter taste in our mouth for next year. With all the guys we have coming back, this is going to help. They experienced it. They’re going to learn from it.”