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Burroughs girls' soccer snaps long-time league title drought

BURBANK — A long-standing drought was snapped Thursday, and it had nothing to do with the rain that pelted the Southland.

The Burroughs High girls’ soccer team needed to defeat crosstown rival Burbank to earn its first outright league championship in 26 years.

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But the Indians, who were tied atop the league standings with Crescenta Valley on the final day of the regular season, received a little bit of help that gave them the Pacific League title outright.

Burroughs received two goals each from Lily Gonzalez and Lauryn Bailey in earning a 5-1 victory against the visiting Bulldogs at Memorial Field that secured it a title share.

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However, while celebrating their victory on the field. the Indians received word that Crescenta Valley had played Arcadia to a 0-0 tie, insuring Burroughs the outright title.

It is only the second league championship for Burroughs in program history and the first since 1993, when a team coached by Rob Kodama won a crown in the Foothill League.

“It’s really exciting to have the title and win it like we did,” said Bailey, a sophomore. “We worked really hard this season to achieve this and it’s great that we were able to finally win it. Twenty-six years is a long time and to win it for the first time in forever is great.

“We were amped for this game. We knew we had to play hard if we wanted to win. We knew it was a rivalry game and anything could happen, so that’s why we had to really be focused.”

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Burroughs (15-3-2, 12-1-1 in league for 37 points) finished two points ahead of second-place Crescenta Valley (11-1-2 in league), who tallied 35 points

The lone loss for the Indians was a 3-2 setback Jan. 8 against Arcadia — winner of the previous seven league championships. The Apaches finished in third place.

“That Arcadia loss really was the difference for us for this season,” Burroughs coach Brady Riggs said. “We did not play up to our potential in that one and I thought we were flat. After that game, I challenged my captains to rally these guys and they did.

“That was really the difference. That game made all the difference for us and getting beat really helped us more than anything else.

After their share of scoring chances in the opening minutes, the Indians finally hit pay dirt in the eighth minute. After getting behind the defense, Bailey took control of the ball down the middle 30 yards away from the goal and neatly placed the ball in the back of the net in the eighth minute for a 1-0 Burroughs advantage.

With Burbank getting just two shots on goal in the first half, Burroughs increased its lead to 2-0 in the 23rd minute. Gonzalez exploited an attempted offside trap, dribbled the ball in and made a nifty move around the goalkeeper for the score.

“We just work so well as a team, and you really could see that today,” said Gonzalez, a sophomore. “We just had a of dedication from all the players and that’s what really helped us.

“We were a little nervous coming into today, but we didn’t want to back down because we knew we had to win to get that league title. We just needed to play as hard as possible, and we did.”

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The half ended with the Indians up, 2-0.

However, just two minutes into the second half Gonzalez struck for her second goal to extend the lead to 3-0.

Just two minutes later, senior Abby Riggs, one of four Burroughs seniors, got into the scoring frenzy with a goal to increase the Indians’ lead to 4-0.

Burroughs made it 5-0 with Bailey’s second goal in the 59th minute.

“Honestly, this really wasn’t in my sights at the beginning of the year,’ Brady Riggs said about winning the title. “But then we just kind of started playing good and it was kind of ‘Wow, we’re pretty good.’

“Then everybody just stepped up and they were just making plays.”

Burbank avoided the shutout when Johana Faraj scored in the 70th minute.

“The last time we played Burroughs we played very conservative and we tried to stay back and counter,” Bulldogs coach Pablo Diaz said. “But this time we said it’s the last game and lets go out with a bang and if we’re going to go down we’re going to go down fighting.

“Scoring that one goal was great, and it was great for her since she’s a senior … Sometimes it’s the little victories that are nice.”

Burbank (3-15-1, 3-10-1) finishes sixth in league and will not make the postseason for the second straight season.

Burroughs will take part in the CIF Southern Section playoffs next week, as the pairings are set to be released Saturday.

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