Teams often go through ups and downs and this season figures to be one that is more focused on developing for the future for the Burroughs and Burbank High girls soccer teams.
Both were hit hard by graduation, in addition to Covid-19.
Coach Brady Riggs’ team lost much of its starting lineup from a year ago when the Bears reached the CIF Southern Section Division 4 quarterfinals. Lauryn Bailey and Lily Gonzalez will be very difficult to replace up front as will Gabby Morales, who was the leader on defense.
“We’re young. I wouldn’t call it rebuilding, but we’re not as strong as we have been. This will be a little bit of a transition year for us,” Riggs said. “We have to play better soccer than we did before. We have to be sharper as a group.”
This season’s team will feature seven seniors as well as a number of younger players.
Senior Samantha Valencia is the holding center midfield and will be the player the team will be built around.
Senior Charlotte Sanchez leads the defense, as she the lone returning starter amongst four. Senior Athena Vournas is also a defender with varisty experience.
Juniors Julia Narmore and Keilani Roy are looking to be the keys to the attacking midfield.
Senior Megan Schmidt is expected to be the starting striker.
In goal, senior Kaylin Casper returns, but is facing competition from junior Layla Hoyo for the starting gloves.
Others who will play key roles are senior Katy Sinardi and Samantha West, juniors Nicole and Natalie Jimenez, Jazleigh Lone and Kiele Torrance. Sophomores Nadia Aguilar, Graciela Gomez, Olive Sanchez and Jailyn Turner as well as freshman Quiana Laughlin are expected to be the program leaders of the future.
The Bulldogs have seven seniors, but are young as a group. Midfielder Alyssa Mendoza is a four-year varsity player. Senior midfielder Karolyn Pimentel will be back for her third year on varsity.
Sophomores Kelsey Finnigan and Joy Barlin are competing for playing time in goal.
The defense is made up of seniors Calista Espino, Arianna Wirtz and Anolani Kanamu, junior Zara Garcia, sophomores Madison Evans-Armendariz, Brittney Butchko and Alison Molloy.
Seniors Annali Wirtz, Lucia Portillo and Alexis Chavez, sophomores Aleyna Doche, Sophie Peek and Jimena Garcia will make up the midfield and wing positions.
“Our challenge is that we don’t have local clubs that are feeding into our program,” coach Pablo Diaz said. “We only have AYSO and sometimes All-Star tournament teams, but they don’t play at the high level that other schools have. We have only four or five that play club and only one that is playing at a very high level. A lot of my players are waiting for first game of the year.”
Juniors Ashley Montiel and Kate Johnson figure to compete for the striker position.