ARCADIA — Pulled hamstrings, a broken leg, a torn ACL, a sprained knee and injured shoulders are just some of the injuries the Burroughs High girls’ soccer team has had to deal with in recent weeks.
Things got even worse for the Indians on Tuesday when junior Danielle Tilton, the team’s leading scorer, had to make a trip to the emergency room after injuring her knee against Hoover.
Throw in a starter who was sidelined with an illness and Burroughs was undermanned and banged up when it faced off Wednesday against the first-place team from the Pacific League — Arcadia.
If that wasn’t enough, late in the second half in a scoreless tie against the host Apaches, the Indians lost two starting captains to injury, including goalkeeper Taylor Bailey.
Although Burroughs held off Arcadia for the entire first half and most of the second, the Apaches were able to tally two late goals and earn a 2-0 victory that keeps them at the top of the league and handed the Indians their first league defeat.
“We lost two of our three captains and our third is just coming back from a broken leg,” Burroughs Coach Brady Riggs said. “We came in short-staffed and we got more injuries. Injuries are something that we just can’t seem to avoid this season … it’s been tough.”
Burroughs (7-7-1, 6-1-1 in league) trails first-place Arcadia (9-5-1, 8-0) by three points with six league contests remaining.
Despite the injuries, the Indians have been able to remain competitive in the Pacific League. They came into Wednesday’s match having tallied six shutouts in seven league games. Even with the two goals surrendered to the Apaches, Burroughs has surrendered just four goals in eight contests.
Because of problems plaguing his team, Riggs had to bring up players from the Indians’ junior varsity team just to have enough bodies to plug holes.
With the depleted squad, the Indians were clearly overmatched against the skillful and aggressive Apaches, who are tied for 10th in the recent CIF Southern Section Division III poll. Throughout the match, Arcadia dictated play. In addition, it afforded the Indians few trips into the Apaches’ half of the field for the majority of the first 40 minutes. However, despite the seemingly complete dominance, the Burroughs defense held firm and didn’t allow Arcadia to get on the scoreboard in the first half.
“Defense is about will and determination and our defense really played with that today,” Riggs said. “They were busting their butts in the back and they were giving us everything that they had.
“I am really proud of my team. They played the way we wanted them to play and they were out there fighting the entire time.”
In the first 40 minutes, the Apaches created nine prime scoring opportunities, but couldn’t cash in on any.
The Indians really had just one legitimate scoring chance the entire game. That opportunity came three minutes into the second half when Emma Pineiro blasted a shot from the center of the field from 35 yards out. However, the ball sailed over the crossbar.
A pivotal moment came in the 59th minute when Arcadia scored what appeared to be the contest’s first goal. The Apaches’ Kelly Dopke dribbled in and took a point-blank shot on Bailey. The keeper batted the offering out, but the ball dribbled back to Dopke who riffled another shot on goal. Bailey sprawled out to knock the ball away again, landing hard on her shoulder on the turf. With the ball still loose, Arcadia’s Megan Acosta was there to tap it in. However, the play was ruled offside and the goal was nullified.
The play was devastating for Burroughs, as Bailey was injured and didn’t return.
Two minutes later, Burroughs senior defender Alexis Hernandez had to leave the game with an ankle injury.
A minute later, Arcadia’s Megan Steinberger scored to give the Apaches a 1-0 lead. Steinberger also scored in the 77th minute.
“I feel if we would have had our full team we could have taken them,” Bailey said. “It was just tough not having everybody there then getting more injuries. When we got those injuries in the second half is when things started to go downhill for us.
“I definitely think when we play them again we’ll have homefield advantage and hopefully we will be all healed. We look forward to that.”
That matchup will be at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 7 at Memorial Field.