Prep defense stymies Burbank in girls' soccer

GLENDALE — The benefit the Burbank High girls' soccer team derived from playing against Flintridge Prep is that it had a chance to go against a proven squad with a successful track record.

For the Rebels, they got the opportunity to test their skills against a group from a larger school in a higher division.

What the Bulldogs learned Tuesday in a nonleague match at the Glendale Sports Complex was what it was like to face a team with a stingy defense and a dominating midfield.

Although the squads played to a scoreless tie through the first half, Flintridge Prep struck for two goals in the opening minutes of the second half to notch a 2-0 victory and stay undefeated on the season.

The Rebels (4-0) — ranked No. 7 in CIF Southern Section Division III — were dominating on defense, allowing Burbank (3-2) just four total shots in the game. None of those shots came inside the 18.

"People always refer to us as a defensive-minded team and I don't like that," Flintridge Prep Coach Esteban Chavez said. "If we were defensive minded we would never score goals. But we work hard on our defense. The defenders we have in the back, our goalkeeper and our holding midfielder, they're solid."

The strong play by the midfield and defense afforded Burbank very few chances to score. Among the contributors were Whitney Cohen, Chelsea Johnson, Kaitlyn Kelleher, Isabella Boyce, Jordan Hutson and Abby Letts. They made things relatively easy for Rebels starting goalkeeper Casey Cousineau.

With the defensive stance, the Rebels didn't let the Bulldogs mount any chances in the first half. On the other hand, Flintridge had prime opportunities, but couldn't cash in.

The first chance came in the seventh minute when Katherine Pinney fired a hard shot, but it was right at Burbank goalkeeper Sarah Rangwala, who made the save.

A scrum inside the Burbank goal box in the 14th minute prompted Rangwala to come out to attempt a stop. But the ball got away from her and she had to chase it down and dive on it before Rebels players could get to it and score on an open goal.

In the 16th minute, Kaelin King fired a hard shot from the left side, but Rangwala again came up with the save.

In the second half, however, the Rebels' fortunes would change. In the 43rd minute, Hudson caught Rangwala sleeping. Hutson won a ball far from the Burbank goal and lofted a towering shot from about 35 yards away. The ball soared over Rangwala's head and into the goal.

"I saw there was a little space and there was no pressure on me," Hutson said. "Our coach is always telling us to take chances when we can so I just took it. I just went for it. I saw it floating and it went in."

After the initial goal, Burbank Coach Eric Montoya replaced Rangwala with Briana Jacobo.

"We have been having some problems at the goalkeeper spot," Montoya said. "We have three right now and we will be looking for which one is going to be our starter."

The Rebels added to their lead just two minutes later when Cohen scored off an assist from King.

Burbank had a free kick opportunity by Dakota Briseno in the 56th minute from 20 yards out, but Cousineau was able to make an easy save. Burbank's Alessia Dal Monte had two shots of her own in the half, but both were also saved with little effort from Cousineau.

"Even though we lost, it's good for us to play a team like this," Montoya said. "You only get better by playing better teams. Hopefully we learned something today."

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