Slow start leads to end of Burbank girls' soccer's season

BURBANK — A pair of early goals from first-round opponent Pacifica High proved to be insurmountable for the Burbank girls' soccer squad, which saw a five-match winning streak snapped in its season-ending defeat.

Lackadaisical play shown by the Bulldogs in the early stages of the CIF Southern Section Division III contest with the Mariners proved to be a factor in the two goals scored in the first eight minutes of a 2-0 loss.

The energy increased, but Burbank couldn't overcome an effective defensive game plan and was on the losing end of a physical and frustrating match at Burbank High on Friday afternoon.

"I told the girls going into it that if we give up sloppy goals in the beginning, then it's going to affect us in the end," said Burbank Coach Eric Montoya, who guided the Bulldogs to a second-place finish in the Pacific League. "Catching up is a difficult task. We tried to get it to 2-1, which is a dangerous score, but we had some problems in the midfield, and were just out of sync on offense."

Burbank (12-5-1) had dropped just one home game during the regular season and hosting the Empire League's Pacifica (10-10-2) was welcomed by Montoya and the Bulldogs, but the Mariners took advantage of a fatigued Burbank squad and prevailed.

"Give credit to Burbank and their coach," Pacifica Coach Alex Camargo said. "Those kids play good soccer. Even though it was 2-0, I thought the game was pretty even.

"Once we were up, 2-0, we wanted to contain and counter. We missed some opportunities on the counter-attacks, but our main goal was shutting down their top player, Clarissa [Guerrero] ... First time she touched the ball, she went around three of our players, but after that we did a good job on her."

After allowing two goals in the first eight minutes — the first resulting from a corner kick that caught the Bulldogs sleeping and Maddie Shine taking advantage with a kick with her back to Burbank's keeper, Allison Tiegs, and the second three minutes later when Tiegs came out on Yvonne Valencia who sailed a ball above her head that slowly bounced into the net — Burbank never mustered any momentum, as Pacifica's defense bottled up Guerrero and the rest of the squad.

"Offensively, we didn't do things that we worked on in practice: connecting, finding the gap, making runs," Montoya said. "We didn't do any of that today. A lot of girls were watching.

"It's funny, because we were peaking having won five in a row, but you give up two goals like that and it took away all our momentum."

Shortly after the second goal, the Bulldogs saw their attack result in opportunities, highlighted by two free kicks from Michelle Morales. She sent good balls near the opposing goal on both attempts to no avail.

Late in the first half, Guerrero came inches close to gaining possession of a ball and getting a clean shot, only to see Pacifica keeper Meg Glisson beat her to it and proceed to clear the ball.

The Mariners kept up the intensity in the second half with six shots on goal, while Burbank never matched Pacifica's energy, and will now look to next season.

"They fell asleep," Montoya said. "But this is a good learning experience going forward, especially for our nine freshmen. Hats off to Pacifica, they outplayed us."

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