CANYON COUNTRY – In its first three matches of the season, the Burroughs High girls' soccer team received strong efforts from its defense, which allowed just three goals, and didn't give up more than one in any game.
It was that defense that helped the Indians win all three of those contests.
However, in the early going Wednesday in a nonleague game against Canyon Country Canyon, the usually stable defense started to show come cracks. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, they weren't able to take advantage through the first 16 minutes.
But the defensive breakdowns afforded Canyon kept coming, and they were finally able to cash in. The Cowboys took those gifts and rolled to a 4-0 victory at Harry Welch Stadium.
Burroughs (3-1) came into Wednesday's match after recording wins against South Pasadena, Palos Verdes and Lawndale.
"We had some players playing out of position today and that might have had something to do with it," said Burroughs Coach Eddie Garcia about his team's defensive problems in cold conditions. "It also might have been partially my fault because I warmed them up too early.
"But we always say we learn from our losses. Hopefully we learned a lot today."
Along with the changes the Cowboys (1-4) generated early in the first half, the Indians also had their opportunities on offense.
In the fifth minute, Burroughs' Brittany Mata delivered a nice pass to teammate Emma Pineiro. The two were able to split the defense and Pineiro got off a hard shot from the left side. However, Canyon goalkeeper Meghan Kennedy was able to slide over to knock the ball away.
Another chance came in the ninth minute. Mata got a rebound and had a chance to put the ball on net, but she was unable to work the shot in.
"We did have our chances," Garcia said. "We just weren't able to finish."
Burroughs allowed the eventual game-winner in the 17th minute. After the Indians lost the ball deep in their own zone, Canyon's Vanessa Quintero got control of the ball on the right side and delivered a pass across the field. Streaking down the left side unmarked, Kelsi Howard caught up to the ball and headed it in past goalkeeper Taylor Bailey.
The Cowboys added to their tally in the 28th minute when Quintero got free in the middle and drilled in a header off a corner kick.
The half would end with the Cowboys holding a 2-0 advantage.
Canyon made it 3-0 nine minutes into the second half on another defensive breakdown. Brooke Moore slid behind the Burroughs defense and was wide open on the left side. Moore dribbled in and rocketed a shot that came to rest in the left corner of the goal.
Quintero scored the final goal with a minute left in regulation.
In one of Burroughs' few chances in the second half, Mata had a scoring opportunity in the 60th minute but couldn't convert. The Indians also had a free kick 25 yards out in the 64th minute. Tatiana Rizzotti took the ball and passed it in deep on the right side to Kelly Arrue, but Arrue couldn't put the ball on net.
Despite the loss, Rizzotti, a Burroughs team captain, said she fully expects her team to rebound and put the defeat behind them.
"We just need to work on our touches a lot more and make sure we keep the ball on the ground," she said. "We'll definitely bounce back and we'll get better. Once league season comes around we're going to be ready."
Burroughs will have to bounce back in a big way when it faces Peninsula at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in the South Torrance Holiday Tournament.