BURBANK HIGH — With a gusty wind at the back of the members of the Burbank High girls' soccer throughout the first half of their CIF Southern Section Division II wild-card match against Rancho Cucamonga, the Bulldogs looked to use the condition to their advantage.
Unfortunately for Burbank, things didn't go as planned and their season concluded Wednesday afternoon with a 3-0 home loss.
Burbank (11-10-2), which advanced to the postseason after defeating rival Burroughs in a play-in game to finish fourth in the Pacific League, had several golden scoring opportunities in the first half, but couldn't convert, leading to disappointment.
"It's just soccer and it's not for a lack of effort," Burbank first-year Coach Eric Montoya said. "We had some good chances and we played well, but we started to lose our intensity late in the game a little bit."
Aided by the wind, the Bulldogs pressed several times to take the lead against Rancho Cucamonga.
A throw-in by Burbank's Julianna Marx went through the goal mouth to Alessia Dal-Monte, who headed the ball off the outside of the left post in the 15th minute. Burbank's Taylor Gore was then stopped in the 29th minute on a partial breakaway by Rancho Cucamonga goalkeeper Mia Velasquez. Five minutes later, a direct kick by Dal-Monte landed on the netting above the crossbar.
Rancho Cucamonga (16-8-1) weathered Burbank's attacks before taking a 1-0 lead on a goal by Tina Sanchez with less than two minutes remaining in the opening half. Rancho Cucamonga's Brooke Williams got past two Burbank defenders and feathered a low pass to Sanchez, who beat Burbank starting goalkeeper Monica De La Cruz.
"It was huge for us to be able to survive the first half and then get the late goal," said Rancho Cucamonga Coach Chris Van Duin, whose team will meet Riverside Poly in a first-round road match Friday. "It was crucial getting that first goal and we were patient."
The winds diminished in the second half. However, it didn't seem to faze the Cougars, who received a goal from Danielle Lopez in the 42nd minute and Sommer Larrabee with seven minutes left against reserve goalkeeper Allison Tiegs.
Burbank had a chance to cut the deficit in half when it was awarded a penalty kick after a Rancho Cucamonga defender tackled Burbank's Dakota Briseno in the goal box. Montoya opted to have Yvette Niwa to take the shot.
Niwa's shot struck the inside of the left post and ricocheted back to Velasquez.
"I just pulled it a little to the left," said Niwa, a sophomore. "I always try to go to the left on penalty shots.
"If I make it, then it's a different game. It's not a very good feeling to lose, but we'll remember this and come back stronger next year."