By Dick Dornan
myBurbank Sports Editor
Coming off an outstanding season a year ago in which Burbank went 12-5-2 overall and 10-3-1 in league, Coach Eric Montoya has had to adjust his lineup on the run this season to put his girls in the best possible position to win.
Starting goalkeeper Allison Tiegs left the team to concentrate on volleyball leaving the Bulldogs with a void. Burbank began the year 1-4-1 including a 3-1 loss to Arcadia in its Pacific League opener. But it appears that Montoya has righted the ship with four consecutive shutout wins against Muir (12-0), Crescenta Valley (2-0), Hoover (4-0) and Glendale (4-0).
“This year has been a challenge with a lot of changes to our defense and of course the loss of Allison Tiegs.” Montoya said. “We have a very young team and had to convert a field player to keeper. Nicole Winters has taken over the keeper job and learning the position quickly.”
Winters, a sophomore, has done a fine job making the change from fullback to goalie for the Bulldogs. She is one of eight sophomores on the roster along with six talented freshmen.
“We have the dynamic duo in freshman center mids Ryan Verhoeven and Adrianne Sarukhanyan who are playing a huge role in our successes up till now,” said Montoya, whose team finished runner-up to Arcadia in 2014. “Our defense is led by Cynthia De La Cruz, Hailey Heath, Dani Yanez, and Melanie Tirado.”
Burbank (5-4-1, 4-1) is led by forward Kira Bochard who has quickly become one of the elite players in the league. A solid freshman season has propelled Bochard into a successful sophomore campaign.
“Kira Bochard has been doing a lot of the offensive scoring. She has studied the game and has improved tremendously and has had the opportunity to play with players such as Clarissa Guerrero and Alysia Del Monte during her freshman year,” Montoya said. “Kira is so teachable and works so hard and her hard work is paying off.”
Bochard scored the game’s only two goals in the victory over the Falcons on Monday. She also had two goals and an assist against Muir in the 12-0 rout.
The victory against the Mustangs was highlighted by 10 Bulldog players who found the back of the net. Amanda Kim scored twice with Winters, Sammy Gonzalez, Hailey Heath, Dani Yanez, Cynthia De La Cruz, Alexia Muller, Ryan Verhoeven and Adrianne Sarukhanyan each scoring a goal. Verhoeven and Sarukhanyan tallied four assists apiece.
“We expect to do big things this year and make a run for the league championship this season,” Montoya said.