LA CANADA — The Flintridge Prep girls' soccer team isn't a squad that opponents want to have to come back against.
But that’s the predicament Burroughs found itself in Thursday in a CIF Southern Section Division III first-round match.
The Rebels jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first half, putting pressure on the Indians and forcing them to play catch-up.
But with a stingy and even sometimes suffocating defense, the Rebels are most dangerous when they have a lead. They made that lead stick Thursday, as Prep walked away with a 2-0 victory at home.
It was a rare first-round victory for the Rebels, who had won just one playoff opener in the previous four years.
“We had some good teams in those years that we lost,” Rebels Coach Esteban Chavez said. “But we just weren’t able to get the wins. But we also played against some good opposition those years.”
This season in their opener, the Rebels (13-2-6) faced a Burroughs (13-12-2) team that came into the playoffs after placing third in the Pacific League.
Although Flintridge Prep was able to dictate the tempo for most of the match — primarily in the first half — Chavez said there is still room for improvement with his squad.
“Today I thought that we didn’t come close to our potential,” he said. “I’m happy that we were able to get the win, but there are some things that we still have to work on.”
Hopefully the Rebels have those kinks worked out for the second round of the playoffs, which will take part Tuesday. Flintridge Prep will take on the winner of the first-round contest between Diamond Bar and Western.
While the Rebels’ offense might not have clicked as well as Chavez would have liked, the team’s defense looked up to task. Throughout the first half, Flintridge Prep gave up just one legitimate scoring chance. That came in the 25th minute when Brittany Mate let lose with a hard shot. However, the offering sailed over the crossbar.
Other than that, the Indians were stymied in the first half.
“They do have a good defense and a very good goalkeeper,” Burroughs Coach Eddie Garcia said of the Rebels. “But we were missing some of our better players because of injury and we just didn’t play our best.”
The Rebels got going fairly early, getting on board in the 10th minute. Abby Letts delivered a long throw-in from the left side that sailed toward the Burroughs goal. Right there to play the ball was Whitney Cohen, who headed it in for the score.
Flintridge Prep added to its tally in the 38th minute on a goal by Kaelin King. Katherine Pinney got to the ball at midfield and threaded a perfect pass to King, who was streaking down the middle. In stride, King dribbled in and left-footed a shot that beat the keeper.
“That pass was perfectly on stride and I didn’t even have to work at all to get to it,” King said. “She made it really easy for me. The goalie gave me the entire right side of the goal and I’m a lefty, so I was thinking ‘Alright, I’ll make it.’”
Burroughs played better in the second half, but couldn’t score. Burroughs’ Tatiana Rizzotti did have three hard shots on goal in the half.