LUTHER BURBANK MIDDLE SCHOOL — A bench-clearing brawl in the second half of the girls' soccer match between rivals Burbank High and Burroughs capped off what had already been a physical, and often times rough affair Friday afternoon at Luther Burbank Middle School.
Burbank's Maddie Carlborg and Burroughs' Maria Gomez both received red cards and were thrown out of the Pacific League contest after engaging in a fight that involved kicking, pushing, fists being thrown and hair-pulling.
Earlier in the game, Gomez scored the first of two goals for the Indians in their 2-1 victory, but goals were the furthest thing on both coaches' minds after the final whistle was blown.
"The referees were terrible," first-year Burbank Coach Eric Montoya said. "They let the game get out of control, and then there's a brawl. They're destroying the games, and getting kids hurt."
Montoya was on the officials throughout the match, including in a five-minute stretch in the first half when he witnessed the Indians (10-5-2, 4-2-1 in league) score both their goals and perceived that his Bulldogs (7-7-1, 3-4) didn't get two crucial calls that he felt should have resulted in penalty kicks.
Gomez finished off a corner kick on a goal with her back to the frame 29 minutes into the match. The goal came on the heels of Burroughs taking control of time of possession and starting to attack, whereas earlier it was Burbank keeping the ball on its opponent's side of the field.
Two minutes later, the Indians struck again with a good ball off the foot of Brianna Matallana to give Burroughs the 2-0 advantage.
Back on the attack, and needing a quick goal or two, Burbank forward Taylor Gore started looking for the long ball from her teammates that would give her a clear path to the goal. Gore received a couple good passes that had her racing toward the Burroughs goal, looking to score. In one instance, she stayed on the field a couple minutes after colliding with Indians goalkeeper Lilith Paparo-Prieto.
Montoya looked for the foul against the keeper, but to no avail.
"The refs made some bad calls both ways," first-year Burroughs Coach Eddie Garcia said. "But you can only blame the refs so much. I'm glad the way we played, we played hard and Burbank did too. We just got the result."
Ironically, the Bulldogs got their only goal on a penalty kick. Late in the second half, Dana Williams dribbled inside the box and was taken down, resulting in a whistle. Williams drilled the penalty kick to cut the Bulldogs deficit in half.
The two-goal lead proved insurmountable, however, as the first goal came too late and left little time to sustain the momentum for the game-tying score.
"They happened to get the better calls, and they got the 'W,' " said Montoya, who kicked the ball up in the air as the game ended. "Not to take anything away from Burroughs — they played a tough game, but we got cheated."
Burbank managed seven shots on goal, while holding the Indians to eight. Sarah Rangwala left the game early in the second half after colliding with an Indians player. Monica De La Cruz replaced her.
The teams will face each other again to conclude the season Feb. 9 at Burbank.