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Late surge lifts La Cañada over Burbank

Soccer: After scoreless first half, Spartans girls come on strong in second half to earn a 2-1 victory.

December 14, 2011|BY JEFF TULLY, jeff.tully@latimes.com
  • La Canada's Taylor Afshar, left, and Burbank's Maddie Carlborg fight for the ball on Tuesday.
La Canada's Taylor Afshar, left, and Burbank's… (Los Angeles Times )

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — It was a battle of flourishing programs when the Burbank High and La Cañada girls' soccer teams squared off.

Coming into Thursday's nonleague contest at La Cañada, the Bulldogs and Spartans combined for nine wins and just one loss this season.

Although the Spartans had some prime scoring chances in the first half, neither team could put the ball in goal. However, that changed in the second half when La Cañada stepped up its game and turned back Burbank in a 2-1 victory.

La Cañada (6-1) — ranked No. 5 in CIF Southern Section Division IV — has been outshot and outplayed in a number of matches this season. But to the young team's credit, it has been able to win all but one of those matches.

"It definitely wasn't a pretty game," Spartans Coach Louis Bilowitz said. "It was probably our most undisciplined game that we've had. But that's the result sometimes when you have a young team; we're not going to be able to play pretty every game. But to their credit, they found a way to win."

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La Cañada, which has just five players who are juniors or seniors, has only lost to Pasadena Poly, 4-2.

Like Bilowitz, first-year Burbank Coach Eric Montoya felt his team didn't play its best Tuesday.

"This was our worst game, our worst game," said Montoya, whose team slipped to 4-1. "Our shape was terrible and we were out of position and we got into their style of game, which was playing the long ball. We just haven't been playing like that this season."

The teams took part in a defensive battle in the first half, with neither squad able to mount any legitimate scoring opportunity during the first 15 minutes.

The Bulldogs were able to keep the match scoreless during the first 40 minutes partly because of the play of sophomore Michelle Morales, who stopped two potential goals from going in.

La Cañada's best scoring chance came in the 31st minute. The Spartans' Katrina Ritticher dribbled the ball toward the goal and Burbank's keeper, Sarah Rangwala, came out to make the save. Ritticher made a move around the goalkeeper and had a clear shot at an open goal. But Morales came in from the side and knocked the ball away.

Seven minutes earlier, Morales kicked away a shot deep in the Bulldogs' zone on a breakaway.

"She was awesome and she played awesome," Montoya said of Morales. "She saved those goals."

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