BURBANK — It will be telling to see how the Burbank High girls' soccer team recovers from what it endured Friday afternoon.
The Bulldogs came into their latest match entrenched among the top-tier teams in the Pacific League standings, with Burbank, Crescenta Valley, Arcadia and Burroughs all within striking distance of one another.
Burbank was hoping to stay in the midst of that elite pack and knock Arcadia down a few pegs when it hosted the Apaches Friday.
But a lackluster performance by the Bulldogs did just the opposite, as it was Arcadia that turned back Burbank with a 1-0 victory.
The loss puts Burbank at 11-7-1, 6-2-1 in league and Arcadia improves to 7-6-2, 7-1-1. Crescenta Valley (10-3-1, 8-1) remains in first place in league with Burroughs (10-11-1, 7-2) in fourth.
“We play CV on Monday and if our team wants to stay in this thing they are going to have to come out to play,” Burbank Coach Eric Montoya said. “We have to play our best.
“But a loss like this could also be to our advantage. It might motivate them and kind of wake them up to do what they have to do.”
Burbank senior defender Natalie Muller is confident that the Bulldogs will be able to bounce back from Friday’s loss. In addition, she said the rest of the league shouldn’t count out the Bulldogs just yet.
“We definitely have to shake this off,” said Muller, who made some fine defense plays against Arcadia and kept the match from being any worse for Burbank. “If we play well against CV on Monday and we win, we’re right back in it for a league title.
“This was rough and it was a bit of a setback and our heads and hearts are down at this time, but we think we can fix the little mistakes that will help us continue to fight for that title.”
It was a mistake that led to the lone goal of the match. Just 10 minutes into the second half, the Bulldogs defense let Vienna Rousset break free down the left side. Rousset made a move around one defender and headed toward the goal. Burbank goalkeeper Sarah Rangwala came out wide to try and cut down the angle, but Rousset released a shot around the keeper from 20 yards out and the ball rolled untouched into the goal.
The Bulldogs had a few prime scoring chances throughout the contest, but had trouble finishing.
Burbank’s best chance came in the 48th minute. Dakota Briseno carried the ball deep into Arcadia territory on the far right side. She maneuvered past a defender and rocketed a shot on net. The keeper dived and got a hand on the ball, but the offering skidded away and rolled in front of the Apaches net. However, no Bulldogs were there to tip in what would have been an easy goal.
“That was a tap-in, for sure,” Montoya said. “But we just didn’t have anyone there to knock it in.”
The teams played evenly in the first half, as neither was able to score.
Burbank’s Clarissa Guerrero had two prime chances in the first half. The first came in the 16th minute when she delivered a hard shot that was saved by Arcadia keeper Adriana Maldonado. The second came in the 22nd minute when Guerrero pulled off a standing bicycle kick for a shot on goal that Maldonado had to make a hard save on.
“I feel like we didn’t get as many opportunities up top as we should have,” Muller said. “And that comes from breakdowns all over the field. We have to get better at that.”