By Rick Assad
Two goals separated by seven minutes held up for the visitors when the Burbank High girls’ soccer team hosted Hoover in a Pacific League match on Thursday afternoon at Kemp-Kallem Field.
The Bulldogs sliced the deficit in half with a 35-yard moon shot in the 66th minute from sophomore forward Maneh Nersesyan, but despite that spectacular tally, lost to the Tornadoes 2-1.
“That was an absolute highlight goal. I loved that goal,” said first-year Burbank coach Alan Simon of the tally.
Taller, heavier and bigger for the most part, Hoover was the more aggressive squad and it paid off when control of the ball was in the balance.
Simon, who hails from Great Britain and was a soccer player himself, wants his troops not to be timid, even if they are smaller and slighter.
“Right now, we’re our own worst enemy in this particular match. We let in two simple goals that we should have stepped up and gotten rid of. We’re trying to play a beautiful style of soccer. We play total football. Pretty much everyone on this field can play in every position I can put them in.”
Simon said it’s going to take a period of time, but his philosophy is to move the ball forward.
“It’s going to take a while to do that. There was a disconnect between our midfield and our forwards,” he said. “The defense did a really good job. It was a good performance by Burbank. I’m okay with the result. I think we can work on better distribution going forward.”
Several occasions, Hoover (5-3 and 2-2 in league) pushed the ball close to the net and when it did, the visitors were able to get higher percentage shots.
One came on a 15-yard blast from junior striker Lillian Yousefian in the 44th minute for a 1-0 advantage.
In the 51st minute, junior striker Fiona Gilbert unloaded a 17-yarder that found the net and made it 2-0.
Yousefian’s 15-yarder in the first minute set things in motion and Burbank junior Emma Batista answered with a kick in the 11th minute.
The Tornadoes then added three straight shots on goal, and they were junior midfielder Libni Pesantes’ 20-yard penalty kick in the 13th minute.
Senior Emilie Shahvosian’s 20-yarder followed in the same minute and Pesantes’ 25-yarder in the 15th minute capped the spree.
Nersesyan found her groove as she booted two shots, and they came in the 18th minute and 19th minute and were from 23 yards and 25 yards.
“I think just playing together will help a lot. Getting our passes together and connecting more will also help,” Nersesyan said. “We can definitely get more aggressive and that will also help a lot. I think if we changed those two things, we could have won this game.”
Sophomore forward Katherine Coopersmith tossed in a 20-yarder for the Tornadoes in the 24th minute.
Junior Sophia Peek had a 25-yard kick for Burbank (2-5 and 1-3 in league) in the 28th minute and Bulldog sophomore Savannah Brown added a 15-yarder in the 37th minute.
Hoover commenced the second half by getting off three straight kicks including the two goals.
The kick that didn’t score came off the foot of Yousefian, who had the first two attempts.
Burbank wasn’t done as Nersesyan had two of the three kicks and they were a 35-yarder in the 54th minute and her goal.
Batista chipped in with a 25-yarder in the 61st minute.
Each team had two kicks over the final 10 minutes, and they were two boots from Nersesyan.
The first was a 47-yard free kick in the 72nd minute and a 44-yard free kick in the 74th minute.
Junior forward Isabella Quinones had a 25-yarder for the Tornadoes in the 70th minute and Coopersmith added a 15-yarder in the 77th minute.
Not to be overlooked was the stellar play of Burbank freshman goalie Sidney Evans-Armendariz, who allowed just two goals to get past her and they from short range.