Sometimes a little thing is all it takes to eliminate a team from the playoffs.
Saturday evening the Burroughs and West Torrance High boys’ soccer teams fought hard for 80 minutes without anyone finding the back of the net.
But just a minute into the sudden death overtime period Burroughs was stunned by a fine goal from the visiting Warriors, who earned a spot in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 quarterfinals with a 1-0 victory.
West Torrance sophomore Thomas Nakano set up the goal by firing a solid shot outside the goal box that Burroughs goalie Alfredo Tejada blocked.
Teammate Andrew Kang picked up the loose ball and blasted into the net.
“He’s got a powerful shot,” West Torrance coach Mike Shimizu said of Nakano.
Kang spoke of his goal.
“I anticipated a hard shot and I just followed up and it was there,” he said.
Both sides played relatively even throughout the match and neither had many fine goal scoring opportunities.
Burroughs had what was the next best opportunity, which came via a penalty kick in the 24th minute.
David Gerlach intercepted the ball from West Torrance left back Koji Ueoka, who subsequently ran into and knocked down Gerlach, resulting in a penalty kick.
Manny Gonzalez’s penalty kick shot was hit with power down the middle, but West Torrance goalie Ethan Brandt, who is 6-foot-3, dove to his right and was able to make a foot save.
Burroughs had the first chance to score early in the match when Matthew Cardenas fired a fine long-range shot, but it was right at Brandt. Carlos Rosales also had a nice shot attempt in the 29th minute, but it too was from distance and right at Brandt.
Tejada came up big in the 46th minute when he denied a goal-scoring chance by West Torrance’s Max Kim.
Burroughs tried to surprise West Torrance (12-4-5) with a short corner in the 52nd minute, but Rosales’ one-touch shot went over the goal.
“I’m really proud of the boys. They left everything on the field. Our work rate was outstanding,” Burroughs coach Mike Kodama said of his team, which finishes 15-6-3.
“When you’re playing against a very good team, we had to make some adjustments. We had some guys who hadn’t played many minutes come in because we had guys go down with injuries. I have no regrets. I’m proud of how the boys played,” Kodama said.