BURROUGHS HIGH — If the Burroughs High girls' water team was going to win its CIF Southern Section first-round playoff match against Elsinore, it was going to have to do it without a significant contribution from Sam Buliavac.
Buliavac, the team's leading goal scorer, was hounded every time she got near the ball. The senior was constantly double- and triple-teamed and had a hard time getting any scoring opportunities.
That led the Indians to spreading the scoring around and attacking the Tigers from the outside. The strategy worked in the end, as the Indians stepped up their defense and came away with an 11-6 victory Wednesday in their Division V opener.
Burroughs (20-4) won a pre-determined coin flip and will host Saturday's quarterfinal match at a time to be determined. The Indians will play the winner of Wednesday's contest between Redlands East Valley and La Serna.
Buliavac, who has scored 134 goals this season, was relegated to a goal on a five-meter penalty shot and two goals from the field against Elsinore (9-18).
"Our outside shooting proved to be a big key for us today," said Burroughs Coach Danny Garcia, whose team finished second in the Pacific League. "We had some fantastic shots from the outside. We realize that teams are going to key on Sam, if they didn't I would question why any team wouldn't do that."
Helping facilitate that outside attack was Erika Green and Andrea Young. Young ended with five goals and Young added three.
"Our coach said be ready to shoot and be smart about it," Green said. "He told us not to hurry our shots just because we're pressured, just wait for [Buliavac] to get open or take your shot."
The Tigers — runners-up from the Sunbelt League — started the scoring to open the game before Green rattled off three consecutive goals to put the Indians ahead, 3-1. After a converted penalty shot by Elsinore, Buliavac scored with five seconds left and Burroughs took a 4-2 lead into the second quarter.
The teams traded two goals in the second quarter and the Indians still held only a two-goal lead at the half, 6-4.
In the second half, the Burroughs defense stepped up. Led by goalkeeper Ahsha Earwood, who had seven saves, the Indians shut out the Tigers in the stanza and went up, 8-4, going into the fourth.
Young tallied all three of her goals in the fourth.
"It was definitely defense that won it for us," Garcia said. "We were a little shaky in the first half. More than anything it showed in that first quarter where we just had to get those jitters out and just run what we know how to run."