Boys volleyball stands strong in tough loss
The Burbank Bulldogs probably assumed they would easily win their matchup with Claremont on Wednesday. After all, Claremont is currently in last place in the Pacific League while Burbank is ranked second, just behind Burroughs. From the very start, however, it was clear the Wolfpack was going to be competitive.
Burbank had the air of a team destined to win, but Claremont matched them point-for-point in the first two sets and even led several times. In the end the Bulldogs never won by more that five points and nearly lost the final set when Claremont, down 14-22, went on a seven-point winning streak. But win they did in straight sets: 25-22, 25-20, 25-23.
Watching the game play out, it was clear Burbank’s main advantage was setting the ball to the right players who would then go for the kill. By contrast, Claremont always seemed to be recovering and had to settle way too often for a shot that simply went over the net.
Burbank’s big guns, seniors Aram Krakirian, Andrew Hank and Brandon Alba delivered some withering shots but credit has to be given to Claremont for some amazing saves including key digs from Caedin Miller.
Claremont did have its moments to shine with several strong kills from James Bradley and good offensive play from Johnny Abrolat.
Coach Bernie Wendling had to rein in his team several times during the match as the banter from the bench became a distraction. Likely this issue will solve itself as the players mature individually and as a team.
Coach Wendling was happy with his team’s effort, even if the outcome was another loss.
“We made too many unforced errors at critical times. But we also made a great effort coming back. We were down bad in set three and the guys showed a lot of heart and fought back,” he said.
Coach Wendling will be working with his team to focus effort on the basics, not just the spectacular kills.
“We love a big play. We love the big swing, it’s part of the fun. But we’ve got to do the little things, too. You have to pass, you have to play defense and do the hard stuff that no one notices,” he said.
He is also looking forward to the second half of the season and an opportunity to defeat teams that narrowly eliminated them in the first round.
“We have Hoover on Friday and then we start second round [of league play]. We feel like everybody, except maybe Burroughs, is in that category where we are looking forward to playing them again. No one is really out of reach.”
The boys are now 3-14 overall and 0-5 in league.
TRACK AND FIELD
Claremont track was back in action on Saturday at both “the qualifier” in Covina and the Azusa Meet of Champions at Azusa Pacific University.
In Covina, a quintet of varsity girls dominated the field in the 1600-meter race, taking second through sixth places with Olivia Paez of Bishop Amat coming in first. In order, Tess Rounds, Frances O’Leary, Sydney Hwang, Jax Heckers and Sarah Ayala all finished with in six seconds of each other and all were under 5:26.
On the boys’ side, Tom Englebert took third in the 1600-meter event at 4:31.
In Azusa, Owen Bishop took sixth place. However, he was less than a second behind fifth place and only two seconds slower than first. Ryan Renken gave a solid performance in the 3200-meter race, coming in fifth.
Annie Boos came in ninth in the 800-meter race, just six seconds behind the first-place runner.
The Pack continued its winning streak with four victories over the past two weekends, claiming victory in the Katella tournament.
The girls defeated Westminster (10-0), Godinez (8-4), Orange (10-0) and Mira Costa (7-5) in the championship game. Alexis Jimenez was named tournament MVP.
They will compete in the Diamond Bar tournament this weekend and have their first league game against Bonita on April 13 in Claremont.
Claremont won its non-conference game against Wilson, 7-5, on Monday in Rowland Heights.
Claremont was ahead 7-0 going into the seventh and final inning when Wilson piled on five hits and five runs.
Junior Matt Hohn had two hits and one run, senior Nelson Steinert had two hits with two RBIs, while senior Jack Pavlisin had one hit for two RBIs.
Sophomore Jack Noble earned the win, pitching six-and-a-half innings, giving up five hits and five runs while striking out six and walking one.
The boys are now 0-3 in league and 4-8 overall and face Bonita on April 6 in La Verne.
CHS defeated Ayala last Thursday, 16-2, in what is looking to be a stellar season. Leyton Bohren went 3-0 in singles and all three doubles teams came away undefeated.