The fight and the desire were definitely present for the Burroughs High girls’ water polo team Tuesday night when the Bears hosted Esperanza of Anaheim in a first-round CIF Southern Section Division 3 contest.
Burroughs never led in the match, but also never let Esperanza out of its sight, falling 15-13 in overtime.
“They showed a lot of heart and that they are willing to fight until the end. They were constantly in the game,” Burroughs co-coach Martin Ortega-Jennison said of his team. “They did not want to walk out of here with a loss. The main thing was we weren’t hitting our shots.”
Both teams struggled to get a rhythm going offensively in the first quarter. The visiting Aztecs (17-12) scored a pair of goals to get things started before Burroughs Clarissa Robles took advantage of a breakaway opportunity to put the ball in the right corner of the goal with 1:31 left in the first quarter.
Burroughs (11-5) tied things with 1.85 seconds left in the quarter as Nancy Baylor fired a desperation shot to beat the clock and was able to find the back of the goal. It was the first of five goals she scored for the match.
Esperanza took a 4-2 lead before Burroughs countered by a back-handed goal from Makena Palamara.
Burroughs, which suited up just eight players, trailed by three goals on three occasions in the third period. But that was not enough to keep the Bears from fighting back.
Baylor hit a turnaround shot with 1:58 left in regulation to tie things at 12, which was the score at the end of the 28-minute regulation period.
In the overtime, Esperanza got two quick goals from freshman Hailey Whittaker. Burroughs countered with a goal from Palamara, one of three she had in the match.
But in the end, Burroughs came up just a little short.
“The girls played super hard. I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Esperanza coach Ashley Haney said. “We challenged them in that third period to shoot from different places in the pool and they stepped up to that. Getting a win on the road is a big thing for us.”
Burroughs got four goals from Robles, three from Palamara, and one from Kelly Volpe.
Goalie Mindy Hernandez finished with 10 saves.