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Burroughs boys' soccer shines in CIF playoff opener

BURBANK — Manny Gonzalez burst toward the direction the goal and found a slight opening.

When Gonzalez arrived and made contact with the ball, he got a positive result to help the Burroughs High boys’ soccer team begin the postseason on ta winning note after winning the Pacific League championship.

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Backed by Gonzalez’s first-half goal and several huge saves from goalkeeper Alfredo Tejeda, host Burroughs posted a 1-0 victory against Ventura on Thursday in a CIF Southern Section Division III first-round match at Memorial Field.

Burroughs (15-4-4) will take on visiting West Torrance (12-5-6) in a second-round match at 5 p.m. Saturday. West Torrance, which took first in the Pioneer League, earned a 1-0 win against Santa Monica on Thursday.

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Gonzalez, a sophomore forward, headed in an indirect kick from senior forward Esteban Alcantar in the 32nd minute past goalkeeper Jason Lowell to account for the lone goal in the evenly played contest with Ventura (10-10-1).

“It was a beautiful kick by Esteban and I found my way in there,” said Gonzalez, who has scored 18 goals this season after finishing with 16 as a freshman — both program records. “I was able to get my head on it and it went in.

“We knew we were going to have to work hard against a good team like that. I think we had the momentum coming into the game after winning league.”

Burroughs coach Mike Kodama, a former All-Area Boys’ Soccer Coach of the Year, praised Gonzalez’s alertness.

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“He knows where to go and get the ball,” Kodama said. “He’s scored some big goals for us these first two years.

“It’s a game that was exactly what I was expecting. Our defense was outstanding and [Tejeda] came up with some big saves against a team that’s very big and strong.”

Tejeda, a senior, turned back Ventura, which finished third in the Pacific View League.

Tejeda, who finished with seven saves, made two outstanding saves in the first half. He stopped Gaspar Martinez inside the box in the fourth minute before making a diving save on a shot by Daniel Gutierrez near the midway mark.

“Those were some good shots,” said Tejeda, who had four saves in the second half. “I kept my timing on that second shot [by Gutierrez] and got enough of it.

“I thought we played well. Ventura had the ball a lot most of the second half.”

Burroughs’ other quality scoring opportunity came in the first minute of the match, but Gonzalez lined a shot just wide of the right post.

The Indians, who captured the league title by two points over Crescenta Valley, have won three straight matches and blanked an opponent for the eighth time this season. They are 5-2 in one-goal matches this season.

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Burroughs is the only remaining Pacific League team still competing in the playoffs. Crescenta Valley lost its first-round match and Pasadena and Glendale fell in wild-card contests.

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