By Rick Assad
It was apparent from the opening moments through the final whistle that the Burbank High girls’ soccer team was outshot by Immaculate Heart in a nonleague encounter at Kemp-Kallem Field.
This singular fact was shoved aside by the presence of sophomore goaltender Sydney Evans-Armendariz and a 25-yard tally by sophomore Emily Taghon with a nice assist from freshman Sophia Leon in the 45th minute that provided the 1-0 win by the Bulldogs on Tuesday afternoon.
The Pandas outshot the Bulldogs 13-0 in the first half and 14-2 in the second 40 minutes.
In numerous instances, Immaculate Heart (0-2) didn’t find the back of the net on wide shots, or balls kicked over the goal and several times Evans-Armendariz knocked the ball away, scooped it up a few times and grabbed the ball with her hands.
“Sydney did an excellent job with 26 saves in her pocket. She is definitely the backbone of our team,” first-year Burbank coach Dennis Leon said. “I was so proud of the girls, working hard to execute what we worked on in practice, which was passing and the give and go.”
Leon, a Burbank High graduate, said the goal was a matter of teamwork and being able to execute when it was needed.
“The combination of [senior] Sophie Peek and Sophia Leon, which led to the assist by Sophia Leon to Emily Taghon for the goal is an example of the teamwork that we are working on in practice,” he pointed out. “Overall, a good start and we are looking forward to keeping up at this momentum.”
The other shot by Burbank (1-0) was a 15-yarder by freshman Jocelyn Morinaga in the 41st minute.
Immaculate Heart freshman Madeline Shay began matters off with a 15-yard kick in the second minute.
Five minutes later, Panda sophomore Frances Marin added a free kick from 35 yards.
Junior Grace Interiano tacked on a 27-yarder for the Pandas in the ninth minute.
One minute later Immaculate Heart senior Sophie Stuecken tossed in a 25-yard boot and two minutes later sophomore Genesis Escobar added a 35-yard kick for the Pandas.
Marin’s 45-yard free kick in the 16th minute failed and freshman Edith Creasey’s 25-yard boot in the 18th minute was off target for the Pandas.
Creasey wasn’t done as she added a 20-yarder to her resume in the 20th minute.
In the 23rd minute, Immaculate Heart’s sophomore Alexandra Bytof attempted a 25-yard penalty kick and Creasey contributed a 15-yarder in the 30th minute.
From the 33rd minute through the 37th minute, the Pandas had three kicks and they included Marin’s corner kick from 27 yards in the 33rd minute, Bytof’s 20-yarder in the 34th minute and Escobar’s 27-yarder in the 36th minute.
“Yeah, this was a tough loss. We had many attempts but couldn’t score,” said Immaculate Heart coach Kevin Cadenas, who is a Burroughs graduate. “The Burbank keeper did a great job on blocking the shots. Credit to Burbank for working hard the entire game.”
The second half saw Marin’s 25-yarder from the corner in the 42nd minute, Shay’s 28-yarder in the 47th minute and freshman Kiyari O’Neil’s 20-yarder in the 50th minute.
More shots from Immaculate Heart included sophomore Bianca Bryan’s 15-yard penalty kick in the 52nd minute and Shay’s 15-yarder one minute later.
A string of nine straight kicks by Immaculate Heart followed and they were Bryan’s 28-yarder in the 55th minute and Interiano’s back-to-back blasts from 25 yards and 20 yards at the 64th minute and the 65th minute.
What came next was spectacular play by Evans-Armendariz who stood tall and added a beautiful hand save on Escobar’s 25-yarder in the 67th minute and another slick save three minutes later on Shay’s 27-yarder.
Three consecutive hand saves by Evans-Armendariz were next on shots by Interiano from 23 yards in the 72nd minute, Escobar from 28 yards a few minutes later and Marin from 27 yards in the 76th minute.
A clean scoop by Evans-Armendariz on a 23-yard penalty kick by Bryan in the 79th minute capped her day and the win.