When it was said and done, it was the host Tigers who took care of business, sweeping a Burbank squad dealing with numerous injuries and many new faces, 25-11, 25-23, 25-13, on Thursday evening.
"You want to play tough teams because that makes you a better team," Burbank Coach Sarah Brown said. "[South Pasadena] was a good team and I don't think we were ready for that."
Game one was brief affair, lasting just over 15 minutes and ending with a 14-point win for South Pasadena (2-0). The second game was a different story and saw Burbank (0-1) hang with the Tigers.
"I think we started to see what we messed up on in game one, and so we tried to fix it in game two," Bulldog junior Rose Cowart said. "We did more blocking, more defense, better serving and just played a better game second game."
The Bulldogs forged a two-point lead late in the second, after trailing most of the way, when Sara Treadway appeared ready to set a teammate but instead pushed the ball over for a winner and an 18-16 advantage. The Tigers took back the lead, but Burbank tied the game at 21 when Ashlyn Edwards finished the longest rally of the match, which saw some spectacular defense from both sides, with a kill into the back court. However, South Pasadena scored the next three points and then held off Burbank for the win.
"I just told them they deserved to be on the court and they should play like that," Brown said of her message to her team after game one. "I think a lot of high school sports is mental and you can either psyche yourself out or psyche out your opponent."
Game three saw the home team take charge with an early 8-0 run, after which they never trailed again. The final point came on a Tiger ace that floated over the net and dropped in the middle of Burbank's lines of defense to end the contest.