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Burroughs girls’ water polo breaks winning drought in CIF playoffs

BURBANK — The road hasn't been a happy place for the Burroughs High girls' water polo team in the CIF Southern Section playoffs the past few years.

In the five previous seasons, the Indians qualified for the postseason only to suffer opening-round losses on the road, being outscored by 52 total goals in the five losses.

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Burroughs had a chance to earn a rare playoff win at home Tuesday evening when it hosted Nipomo in a Division VI first-round contest. Led by a stifling defense, the Indians took control early and were able to coast to a 14-3 victory against the visitors from San Luis Obispo County.

The win was the first in the postseason for Burroughs since 2012 and snapped a six-game playoff losing streak. It was only the program's second home postseason triumph. The last victory for Burroughs in the playoffs was when it defeated Elsinore, 11-6, to open the 2012 playoffs.

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Since that victory, Burroughs was outscored, 71-19, in five straight losses to open the postseason.

"It's nice to be able to play at home in the playoffs," Burroughs senior Gwen Turla said.

Burroughs (11-5), the runner-up from the Pacific League, controlled the match from the outset. Its defense prevented Nipomo (13-8), the No. 3 team from the Los Padres League, from mounting quality offensive chances.

"They were really keeping the press tight and they were going for steals right from the pass from the goalie. ...They were really playing well and they were on top of it for sure," Burroughs coach Jacob Cook said. "I think we finally got this goal in our heads to try and go as far as we can in CIF and the girls are pumped on that and that is really showing in their play and they are really playing hard."

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Turla had a fine effort for the Indians, scoring four goals to go along with three assists. Senior Cameron Flores also scored four goals, junior Aleah Orozco added three goals, four assists and six steals and senior Bianca Sanchez contributed three goals and three assists.

With the win, Burroughs advanced to the second round Thursday where it will host Walnut. Walnut (13-13), the runner-up from the Hacienda League, earned an 11-10 win in overtime against San Marino (11-11) in its first-round match Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the Indians established their defensive presence in the first quarter, allowing the Titans just two shots and helping to force nine turnovers. After the score was tied at 1 with 3:32 left in the opening stanza, Flores scored twice and Orozco had a goal to give the Indians a 4-1 advantage after one.

Nipomo's struggles on offense continued in the second quarter, as it could muster just one goal on three shots while committing 10 turnovers.

Burroughs outscored Nipomo, 7-1, in the second and went into halftime with a nine-goal cushion, 11-2.

"When we play good defense that is really good motivation for us," Turla said. "We really didn't know what to expect from them as a team coming in, so coming out and playing good defense really pushed us to play good offense.

"So, overall it was a really good team effort."

Things slowed down in the third quarter with the lone score of the stanza coming from Flores with 2:04 left. The Indians took a 12-2 lead into the fourth quarter.

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Nipomo had three man-adventage opportunities in the third quarter and four in the fourth and wasn't able to capitalize on any of them.

Goalkeepers Emmanuela Nathan, a sophomore, and Isabella Erickson, a junior, combined for the win, making eight saves.

Twitter: @jefftsports

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