BURBANK HIGH — Practicing man-advantage opportunities hasn't been something that the members of the Burroughs High girls' water polo team have spent a lot of time addressing.
After what occurred Tuesday, one could hardly notice.
Burroughs scored on five of its six extra-man advantages to pick up a 6-3 overtime victory against Pasadena in a semifinal match of the Pacific League Tournament at Burbank High.
Burroughs (19-3, 6-1 in league) will meet Crescenta Valley (27-0, 7-0) at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the tournament's championship match. Crescenta Valley clinched a share of the league title later Tuesday with a 15-2 win against Glendale. A Burroughs victory against the Falcons would give the Indians a piece of the league title and the squad would be the league's No. 1 representative entering next week's CIF Southern Section Division V playoffs.
"Five man-advantage goals, that's the difference in the game," said Burroughs Coach Danny Garcia, who received man-advantage goals from Erika Green and Sam Buliavac late in the fourth quarter to tie the match at 3 and force a pair of three-minute overtime sessions. "We've never had this low of a score before, but scoring those goals was so crucial and it's something we've haven't practiced that much.
"We were able to capitalize on them when we needed to."
Buliavac gave the Indians a 4-3 lead on a man-advantage goal with 1:15 left in the first overtime before Green scored following another Pasadena ejection with 40 seconds left. Green capped the scoring with 1:56 remaining in the second overtime.
"You want to go out there and make something happen and we were able to step it up," said Green, who helped Burroughs register a 9-7 home win against Pasadena on Jan. 12. "In the overtime, I had a lot of adrenaline and I was literally shaking because I didn't want us to lose.
"I had to settle down and just be able to shoot the ball."
Pasadena raced to a 3-0 lead, getting a pair of first-quarter goals from Lydia Kerns. Kerns scored with 5:58 left in the second quarter to make it 3-0 and the Bulldogs (16-11, 4-3) appeared to have things in control with Pasadena goalkeeper Alegra Hueso turning aside the Indians with several outstanding saves.
The Indians — ranked seventh in the latest division poll — finally started to get to Hueso when Green scored with the man-advantage with six seconds left in the first half.
Hueso finished with 18 saves.
Pasadena Coach Jennie Jacobsen-Huse, whose team is ranked No. 8 in the division, said Burroughs capitalizing on its man-advantage opportunities proved to be the difference.
"They got those six-on-five goals and we were lucky on ours," Jacobsen-Huse said. "That was it right there. We outplayed them everywhere else. We didn't necessarily let down."
Burroughs goalkeeper Ahsha Earwood finished with eight saves, including five in the second half and one in overtime.