Burroughs steps up in CIF

BURBANK — The Burroughs High girls’ soccer team had to deal with its share of headaches and hardship throughout the season.

The Indians coach stepped down during the year and the squad has had to contend with a rash of injuries to key players.

When their coach left, in stepped Louie Binda, a longtime Burroughs assistant coach who agreed to take the team over.

Through it all, Burroughs has persevered. So much so that the Indians qualified for the CIF Southern Section postseason for the first time in at least 15 years.

The Indians not only got to the playoffs, but they notched a win, defeating host Montclair, 2-1, in overtime Tuesday in a Division II wild-card match.

Amy Lopez scored both of the team’s goals, including slicing through the defense to notch the match-winner in overtime.

“We got two red cards and we had to play probably the last 15 minutes a player down,” Binda said. “But they were able to come through and win it.”

The Indians will be rewarded by playing host Canyon at 3 p.m. Thursday in a first-round contest.

Canyon (16-4-2) is the Foothill League champion.

Burroughs (10-8) was able to qualify for the playoffs by finishing fourth in the Pacific League. It was the program’s first trip to the postseason from the league after jumping from the Foothill League three seasons ago.

The Indians came on in the second half of the season and won four of their final six regular-season contests. That included a stretch in which they won three straight against Hoover, Glendale and Pasadena.

Their 7-7 league showing was good enough to nab the final automatic playoff berth.

Burroughs was able to move up in league after finishing the first round with a 3-4 record — good enough for fifth place.

What made the second-half surge by Burroughs so significant were the obstacles the players had to overcome to be successful.

Two of its best athletes, defender Haley O’Brien and center/midfielder Daniela Salinas, were sidelined with injuries and had to miss six matches. A third starter, defender Riley Garden, severely injured her ankle in a match against Pasadena that knocked her out for the season.

Since taking over the team, the Indians have thrived under Binda.

In its first contest under its new coach, Burroughs came to life and scored two late goals to defeat host Hoover, 3-0.

Then came a match against Glendale. Burroughs struggled again in the first half and was down, 1-0.

However, in the second half the Indians raised their intensity level, dominated the field and earned a dramatic 2-1 come-from-behind win on two late goals by Lopez in the final 11 minutes.

The future looks bright for Burroughs, which fielded a young squad this year. The team boasted seven freshmen and six sophomores on the 18-player roster.

“I am very proud of what these girls have been able to accomplish this season,” Binda said.

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