BURBANK HIGH — It's been quite a few years since the Burroughs High girls' soccer team found itself in the position it was in Tuesday.
The Indians not only came into their cross-town rivalry match with Burbank in first place in the Pacific League, but they were undefeated in league play.
Burroughs was attempting to stay in contention for its first league championship in 18 years. The last time the program won a crown was in 1993, when it captured a Foothill League title under Coach Rob Kodama. That is the program's lone championship.
The Bulldogs — who have never won a league crown — also came into the contest undefeated in league and Coach Loi Phan's teams had a 10-game winning streak against the Indians.
It turned out to be a defensive battle in Friday's matchup, as Burbank finally broke a scoreless tie late in the second half to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 home victory.
The contest's lone goal was scored in the 69th minute by freshman Clarissa Guerrero on an assist from sophomore Maddie Carlborg.
Phan said he expected a tough time against the Indians (4-4-3, 4-1-1 in league).
"Burroughs has a very good team, for sure," said Phan, whose team improved to 7-4-4, 4-0-3. "We knew that they had two good defenders and we figured they would be tough to score on.
"I'm just glad we were able to score the one goal, and that came from a freshman."
Burroughs Coach Louie Binda said he has a lot of respect for Burbank's talent, even though he admits his team might not have played its best game.
"We didn't create as many chances as we should have," Binda said. "We should have had more scoring opportunities. But give credit to Burbank, they are a good team and they played well."
The winning goal was scored after Burbank had dictated play for most of the afternoon. The Bulldogs had their share of scoring chances, but they just couldn't put the ball in the net.
That changed when Guerrero took a pass at her feet, turned and fired a shot that just sailed past the outstretched arm of the Burroughs goalkeeper.
"I couldn't believe that the ball got to me," Guerrero said. "I was surprised when I saw it at my feet. I just took the best shot that I could."
The Indians received a fine effort from junior defender Haley O'Brien. O'Brien stopped her share of Burbank offensive runs and continually halted a number of Bulldogs advances.
The Burbank defense also had an outstanding showing, as it was aided by a solid effort from its midfield. Michelle Morales, Natalie Muller, Julianna Marx, Kaila Eugenio and Alexandra Amela, among others, helped in the defensive effort.
"We have two freshmen and two sophomores playing in our defense," Phan said.
The Indians' best chance to score in the match came in the 54th minute. Amy Lopez got the ball deep in Burbank territory and made a run at the goal. Bulldogs goalkeeper Kaite Hooper came out to cut down the angle and shopped a point-blank shot by Lopez 15 yards in front of the goal. The ball bounced off the keeper and right back to Lopez, who fired another hard shot. But Hooper was again there to make the save.