Early defensive woes help derail Burroughs boys' soccer against Notre Dame

SHERMAN OAKS — What the Burroughs High boys' soccer players might be wishing for most this holiday season is a little time off.

When the Indians took on Sherman Oaks Notre Dame in a nonleague contest Thursday on the road, Burroughs was participating in its sixth match in eight days.

This week alone, along with concluding their own Burroughs Ralph Brandt Tournament with a third-place finish Monday, the Indians also traveled to the Santa Clarita Valley Tuesday to take on West Ranch.

"Six games in eight days is not easy at all," Burroughs Coach Mike Kodama said. "And you couple that with this being finals week and that's tough all around."

The Indians came out a little sluggish in the early going, as the Knights scored three goals in the first 14 minutes and were able to hold on for a 3-2 victory.

Burroughs (5-2-1) contributed to the early advantage by Notre Dame (3-1-1) with some defensive miscues in the early going.

"We made some mistakes in the first half and we paid for it," Kodama said. "We didn't play well when we did get down and I thought we were trying to score too many goals too quickly.

"That hasn't been the way we've been playing so far this season. We have been very steady and we rely on our backs to do the right thing, but they didn't do that today."

Along with the fatigue of playing so many matches in a short time, Burroughs was also missing two of its captains, who also happen to be returning All-CIF Southern Section players. Senior midfielder/defender Michael Conrad has not played this season because of turf toe and senior forward Brandon Gerlach had a doctor's appointment because of an infection.

To the Knights' credit, they also played well in the first half and didn't waste much time scoring the first goal of the contest. Three goals were tallied in the contest in the first eight minutes.

The initial goal came in the fourth minute on a fine scoring run by Lucas Alfonso.

But Burroughs was able to respond, scoring the equalizer just three minutes later. On a free kick from 50 yards out, Andres Aguilar lofted a ball that sailed right to Notre Dame goalkeeper Matthew Marcelino. The keeper made the initial save, but the ball popped out and Burroughs' Ashot Veisyan was right there to get the rebound that he buried into the back of the net.

The Indians didn't get much time to enjoy the tie score, as the Knights went ahead, 2-1, with a goal in the eighth minute. Michael Enerson was able to get behind the Burroughs defense and slip a shot past keeper Alberto Meir for the goal.

Notre Dame then increased its advantage to 3-1 in the 14th minute when a Burroughs defender missed a shot that went over his head and rolled toward the Indians goal where Alfonso was able to put it in for his second tally of the match.

"It was just a bad game all around for us," Burroughs junior defender VJ Salazar said. "It's only our second bad game of the season. We just need to get our heads straight and take care of the mistakes."

With a 3-1 disadvantage after the first half, the Indians played much better in the second half. While the Notre Dame offense struggled to put together scoring opportunities during the second 40 minutes, the Burroughs defense held firm.

The Indians were able to make it a one-goal game in the 61st minute when Nolberto Alcantar converted on a penalty kick.

"I thought we played a lot better in the second half," Kodama said. "We were looking for a good test today and that's exactly what we got. It was a very physical game and we need games like this to see what we're made of.

"We were able to create more scoring chances in the second half and we had some opportunities to tie it."

One of those chances came in the 64th minute when Aguilar powered a free kick toward the Notre Dame goal that had to be saved by the goalkeeper. Alcantar also had a chance in the 71st minute on a corner that was also saved by Marcelino.

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