By Rick Assad
Squeezing in as many matches as possible across a week and a half has taken a toll on the Burroughs High girls’ soccer team.
Beginning on April 27, the Bears have played five games, with three victories including shutting out archrival Burbank 5-0 at Memorial Field on Thursday afternoon.
The Pacific League and regular-season finale began slowly, but once the Bears’ senior forward Lily Gonzalez knocked in the first goal from 25 yards in the 14th minute, Burroughs (6-2 and 6-2 in league) seized control.
“We settled down and we were able to deal with Burbank’s high defensive line,” Burroughs coach Brady Riggs said. “Our defense played extremely well, allowing only one shot on goal with 10 minutes remaining in the game.”
A goal by senior forward Lauryn Bailey from 25 yards in the 39th minute pushed the advantage to 2-0.
“It felt great to end the season on a high note,” said Bailey, a tri-captain. “This year has been crazy with playing club and high school at the same time, but I’m glad we still had the opportunity to play through this pandemic.”
Five minutes into the second half, the Bears’ lead became 3-0 on a 35-yard tally from Bailey.
Bailey wasn’t done as she powered home a 10-yarder in the 62nd minute.
“We started off the game a little slow and not playing to our full potential,” Bailey said. “We picked it up in the second half and started to connect the ball more which allowed us to have more chances to score.”
Tallying a match-best three goals was a nice way for Bailey to cap the regular season.
“Getting a hat trick is always fun, but especially getting one against our rival is even better,” she said. “Ending the match with all my seniors who are now my closest friends is an experience I’ll never forget.”
Another senior, defender Jessie Virtue, also went out on a sweet note.
“We have such a great team and we all get very excited for the big Burroughs-Burbank game every year. This year was particularly exciting because it was our first Burbank-Burroughs win as the Bears,” said Virtue, who will attend Emerson College where she hopes to make the women’s soccer team.
A tri-captain, Virtue said it really was a team effort. “Everyone showed up to play today and we had a great last league game,” she noted. “I am so lucky to have this team and I know all the seniors are so sad to say goodbye, but it’s been such a great year making the most of what we have.”
Virtue explained what she was trying to do on the pitch.
“I started the game as the defensive midfielder because our usual starting defensive midfielder was hurting from the past few games we had. But fortunately she was able to get back in and I went back over to center back,” she said. “Later in the game I ended up going to outside back and I was really happy to be moved back there! It was my first time playing back over there since last year.”
Virtue continued: “I really like playing there because I feel like I can be more involved in the attack as well as the defense,” she said. “I felt like I got to make a lot of runs and try and help out with some assists while I was in that position and we ended up with a great win!”
Gabby Morales, a senior defender and a tri-captain, agreed that the game was slow developing.
“I thought today’s match started off kind of slow, but given that the majority of our team has played over five games in a week, we still played our hearts out till the final whistle,” she said.
Morales added: “Honestly, I thought I could’ve played a bit better today, but I did make some good runs to create scoring opportunities and I thought [senior defender] Maille [Romberger] and myself held down the back line quite well, not only today, but throughout the season,” she said. “Overall this has definitely been a memorable season, not only because of the pandemic, but because I got to end my last high school league game with some of my closest friends.”
Senior midfielder Olivia Aguilar, on a nifty assist from her sister Nadia Aguilar, a freshman forward, kicked in a 15-yarder in the 71st minute for a 5-0 cushion.
Junior goal keeper Kaylin Casper played the first half, while sophomore Layla Hoyo was in the second half for the Bears.
The Bulldogs (2-5 and 2-5 in league) had two shots on goal and they came from senior defender Erin Trainor and senior Roxy Payinid.