A muddy and uneven field compounded what proved to be a tough night for the Paso Robles High School boys soccer team as the Bearcats had their chances but couldn’t convert in a 2-0 loss Wednesday to Burroughs of Burbank in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs.
The Bearcats had early chances, but the Indians converted theirs — staking them to an early 2-0 lead within the opening 15 minutes.
Paso Robles’ home field was waterlogged, so the game was played at Atascadero High School. Still, the field conditions were less than ideal, leaving players slipping and routine passes requiring extra touches.
Burroughs — the first-place team from the Pacific Soccer League and third ranked team in Division 3 according to MaxPreps — scored just eight minutes into the game. Senior midfielder Cameron Kelly pressured Paso Robles defenders trying to clear the ball down the sideline. Kelly then outran two Bearcat defenders before slotting the ball home.
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Kelly had a hand in the second goal as well. After the ball went into touch near the top of the box, Kelly launched a throw-in that cleared the scrum of defenders. Waiting at the back post was teammate Carlos Rosales for a tap-in.
After ramping up the pressure, Paso Robles had a chance for a tap in of their own just before halftime, but Burroughs goalkeeper Jordan Morgan sprawled out to save it.
Even down two goals, Paso Robles coach Omar McPherson wasn’t worried.
“I never doubted these guys from the get go,” he said. “These guys are strong. We had a season that was up and down, but they never give up.”
The Bearcats continued to dominate the beginning of the second half, which culminated in a penalty.
However, Morgan correctly guessed the direction of Jose Meija’s strike and once again stretched out for the save.
The ball remained on the Indians’ side of the field for most of the second half, but the Bearcats lacked the final quality needed to find the back of the net.
“It was just unlucky, you know,” McPherson said. “We had a few opportunities, and (Burroughs) had the two that they put away. We didn’t take advantage of the opportunities we had.”
Burroughs (19-4-4) advances to the quarterfinals, where they will face Salesian.
The third-place team from the PAC 8, the Bearcats finish the season 17-7-2.
Village Christian 46, Nipomo 35
The Titans’ size disadvantage proved to be their undoing in a quarterfinals loss in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA playoffs in Sun Valley.
The Olympic League champion Crusaders used utilized 6-foot-1 and 6-foot-2 posts to steadily pull away. Nipomo’s tallest player is 5-7.
“But our girls battled,” Nipomo head coach David Mendez said. “They really didn’t give up. They played their hearts out.”
Abbey Gutierrez led the way for the Titans (17-12) with 12 points to go along with four rebounds. Kiesa Romero added seven points and six rebounds. And Sidney Aguilera and Kylie Mendez each had five points. Mendez also grabbed six boards.
Seniors Aguilera, Mendez and Romero leave behind a team that became the first in Nipomo High School’s history to win a CIF playoff game after finishing in third place behind Los Padres League powers Cabrillo and Lompoc. The Titans’ first-round home game was also the first time they hosted a postseason contest.
“We’re trying to reach that potential, that level that (Cabrillo and Lompoc) have,” Mendez said. “And this is a great foundation. In the years to come, it’s going to be something else here at Nipomo. This group of girls has set the foundation high for us.”