BURBANK HIGH — The Burbank High girls’ soccer team looked like a squad determined to keep its season alive.
Trailing Burroughs by just three points for the fourth and final automatic playoff spot heading into Thursday’s cross-town rivalry match, the Bulldogs needed a win or they would be left on the outside looking in on the postseason.
It took Burbank some time to get going, but once its offense got rolling there was nothing the Indians could do to stop it, as Burbank rolled to a 4-0 win at home to force a play-in game for the final automatic league playoff spot.
Since the Bulldogs (7-6-1 in league) and Indians (7-6-1) finished the season tied for fourth place in league, the teams will have to go at it at 3 p.m. Friday at Burbank High with a postseason berth on the line.
“It’s kind of crazy that we have to come back and play the next day,” Burbank Coach Eric Montoya said. “But I’m just happy that we were able to win today to even get a chance to play in the game tomorrow.”
Burroughs needed a win or tie and it would have secured the final playoff spot and made Friday’s contest unnecessary. However, the Indians were hampered by the loss of three players who were suspended from school for allegedly posting inappropriate comments on a social media site about their rivals.
Burroughs Coach Eddie Garcia said the absence of those players adversely affected his team.
“Because of the missing players we had some players out of position, yes,” Garcia said. “But I think it affected us more mentally. Not to take anything away from Burbank, they’re a good team, but mentally it affected us. They’re kids and those kinds of things affect them.”
A Burroughs administrator said because the three players are suspended from school through Friday, they will not play in the game against Burbank.
After having their share of opportunities early on, the Bulldogs finally got on the board in the 29th minute when Yvette Niwa made good on a penalty shot.
Just two minutes later, Burbank’s Clarissa Guerrero gave her squad a 2-0 lead off an assist from Juliana Marx.
Guerrero said her teammates were pumped up about playing their rival.
“You feel more nervous around the game when you are playing against them,” she said. “But it’s always fun.”
With a two-goal lead at the half, Burbank wasted little time making it 3-0. In the 44th minute, Taylor Gore moved in with the ball, made a move on the Burroughs goalkeeper, flicked the ball over her opponent, followed her shot and put it in.
The final goal was scored on a header by Michelle Morales in the 53rd minute.
“It seemed that once the doors started opening and the goals started coming in that was it,” Montoya said. “Hopefully we can win tomorrow and take that into the playoffs with us.”