If there is one thing that has helped the Burroughs High girls’ soccer team this season, it is the fact that the Bears have a veteran core that have been together for several years.
Friday Burroughs used its experience to overpower visiting Montclair 5-2 in a CIF Southern Section Division 4 second-round match.
“We’ve had girls that play in (club) tournaments and we honor the CDC and LA County guidelines and sat some girls the time that they were supposed to sit. Because of that we’ve had games where we were missing six or seven starters,” Burroughs coach Brady Riggs said. “Then when they came back because they are playing way too much soccer with club going the same time as high school, I don’t practice very much. We go over game film. We have not had one practice where everybody has been there.”
Burroughs moves on to the quarterfinals Tuesday, when top-seeded and undefeated San Dimas visits Memorial Field. San Dimas defeated Ocean View of Huntington Beach 3-2 in another second-round match.
Friday’s contest actually started off with a scare.
Just a minute into the game, Montclair got on the board as Burroughs goalie Kaylin Casper was unable to hold on to a left-footed shot by Savannah Echeverria. Montclair’s Destiny Zabalza got a hold of the loose ball and put it into the empty net.
“That’s the second playoff game we’ve been down in the first half and they’re not going to quit. We have too many experienced players and tough competitors on this team,” Riggs said. “A lot of the girls we have, have been here and have played against a lot of good teams. They won a league championship a couple of years ago. They know how to play when a game gets really weird.”
But Burroughs did not panic and came back to even things in the 10th minute when Lauryn Bailey was able to pass the ball to Lily Gonzalez with Montclair goalie Ariana Zepeda off her line. Gonzalez then put the ball into the empty net with a left-footed shot.
Six minutes later Burroughs took the lead. Jesse Virtue’s throw in appeared to be headed to Zepeda. But Gonzalez did not give up on the play and was able to intercept the ball before it reached Zepeda. She then dribbled around the Montclair goalie and put the ball into the empty net.
In the 31st minute Gonzalez earned a hat trick, as she scored on a breakaway that once again included dribbling around Zepeda before putting it into the empty net.
Burroughs made it 4-1 a minute before halftime, as Bailey went down in the goal box and the referee saw enough to point to the penalty spot.
Bailey followed up with the subsequent spot kick and converted.
Burroughs added a fifth goal in the 47th minute, as Samantha Valencia fired a powerful free kick from far outside the goal box into the upper left corner of the goal.
Montclair added a late goal with just a minute left in the match as Deanna Rojas fired a left-footed shot over the head of Casper.
Gonzalez said the early goal by Montclair actually served as a wakeup call.
“They scored on us in the first five minutes and I think that motivated us to play harder,” Gonzalez said. “I think we were really aggressive in the second half.”