BURBANK — It normally takes the Burroughs High girls’ water polo team at least one quarter to fully get into a rhythm.
Yet against visiting Santa Ana Valley in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division V playoffs, the Indians struggled to score in the first half.
The Indians’ shots either hit the post or went wide of the goal 12 times in the opening half against the Falcons. However, despite the struggles, Burroughs only trailed by one goal at halftime.
Burroughs turned it around in the second half, as the hosts scored five goals and kept Santa Ana Valley scoreless for two quarters to earn a 7-3 win Tuesday.
“We’re either on or off, and luckily, we were only off for the first half,” Burroughs coach Jacob Cook said. “We got it together in the second half. ... We made the adjustments and the girls were attacking a lot more.
“I think we were playing a bit timid in the first quarter especially and they were getting more aggressive.”
Burroughs will host Diamond Bar (22-7; Mount Baldy League champion) in a second round match on Thursday at a time to be determined. The Brahmas, the No. 7 in the division, defeated Upland, 7-5, in their first-round match Tuesday.
The Indians were led by sophomore Clarissa Robles with three goals. Junior Chrissy Vlick added two, while senior goalkeeper Ema Nathan finished with 16 saves.
The Falcons received goals from Sindy Gomez, Monique Cariden and Denise Iniguez.
Burroughs (18-7), the Pacific League runner-up, trailed Santa Ana Valley, 1-0, on a goal by Gomez at the end of the first quarter. The Indians recorded six shots that missed.
The Indians, the 10th seed, conceded a goal from Cariden early in the second quarter to go down, 2-0, before a goal from Vlick finally got Burroughs on the board with 3:05 left in the half.
The Falcons (17-10; Orange League runner-up) added their third and final goal of the match from Iniguez nearly 30 seconds later to restore the two-goal advantage.
With 1:30 left in the half, a goal from Charlotte Jennings pulled Burroughs to within 3-2, despite another six shots off target.
“Our defense was really helping us there,” Robles said. “Once we started seeing who’s shooting the ball and who’s getting the ball, we started to drop to steal the ball and get that counter in to be able to shoot.”
The Indians came out strong in the second half and knotted it at 3 on Robles’ first goal.
“Their two best players [Robles and Burroughs freshman Nancy Baylor] carried them this season and we were just trying not to let Superman beat us,” Santa Ana Valley coach Peter Sophabmixay said. “We tried running a couple of zones at them, tried to double-team them and tried to get some other players to shoot the ball to get them out of rhythm.”
Vlick scored the go-ahead goal at 4:02 in the third and Robles chipped in two minutes later to give the Indians a 5-3 lead at the end of the quarter.
“That first half was just rough for us,” Robles said. “We couldn’t get many shots in and we weren’t spacing out like we usually do, but in the second half, we talked it over.”
Nathan blocked four shots in the final three minutes of the match to keep Santa Ana Valley off the board in the second half.
The Indians struck twice with goals from Robles and Angelina Lee in the final 1:25 to finish the match with a four-goal difference.