BURBANK HIGH — It was fitting that two cross-town rivals, who were playing for the second time in two days after splitting their two games this season and were competing for a single postseason spot in a play-in match, would have to go to overtime to decide a winner.
Burbank High and Burroughs faced one another Friday with the winner securing the fourth and final spot from the Pacific League, while the other having its season come to an end.
The Bulldogs seized the opportunity and earned the playoff berth when senior Taylor Gore scored a goal with one minute remaining in the second overtime period to lift host Burbank to a 2-1 victory.
The teams, who both finished the regular season tied for fourth place in league with 7-6-1 records, were forced to play Friday’s match after the Bulldogs notched a 4-0 victory against their rival on Thursday.
The Bulldogs created their share of opportunities throughout the match, but after regulation and the first 10-minute overtime they had only a 1-1 tie to show for it.
However, with time running out in the second overtime, sophomore Yvette Niwa powered a pass to Gore as she was racing toward the Burroughs goal. Gore split two Indians defenders who were draped all over her and somehow got off a shot that beat the Burroughs keeper low and two the right.
“Once I saw the ball hit the back of the net it was the most exciting thing. It was the best feeling that I’ve ever had,” Gore said. “We all put our hearts and souls into this and we really wanted it.”
Burroughs was bolstered by the return of a group of players who had been suspended for allegedly posting derogatory comments about Burbank on a social media site. All but one player had their suspensions rescinded Friday, allowing them to play in the game.
The Indians were kept in the game because of the fine play of senior goalkeeper Tatiana Sanchez, who made 14 saves.
“She was fired up and she really wanted to play in the game,” Burroughs Coach Eddie Garcia said. “It was good for our team to get those players back.”
Neither team could mount any scoring success in the first 40 minutes, as the first half ended in a scoreless tie.
The Indians changed that in the 46th minute when junior Brianna Matallana got loose in between two Burbank defenders and got off a shot that fluttered into the Bulldogs goal.
The 1-0 lead stood until the 66th minute when Burbank junior Alessia Dal Monte made good on a header.
Neither team could score in the first overtime, although Burbank had three good opportunities.
“I’m very proud of the way the girls played under the circumstances,” Burbank Coach Eric Montoya said. “We’re hoping this is something that we’re going to be able to carry into CIF.”