Girls’ varsity soccer fights to the final whistle in draw against Hillsdale


Michelle Moshkovoy

Junior right forward Kaylee Ng consistently made runs down the line in search of crosses and scoring opportunities during girls’ varsity soccer’s league matchup against Hillsdale High School on Tuesday, Jan. 24.

Michelle Moshkovoy, Sports Editor

For better or worse, “soccer is a fluky game,” has become one of varsity girls’ soccer head coach Philip De Rosa’s most-used mantras. 

Coming off two straight wins after a tough 0-3 opening stretch in the PAL Bay, girls’ varsity soccer (7-3-2 overall) hoped to be the beneficiary of De Rosa’s aphorism against Hillsdale High School (2-7-4) on Tuesday night. But, again, soccer is fluky, and although the Panthers dictated the pace of the game, they simply could not find the back of the net as it ended in a 0-0 draw. 

Burlingame’s closest scoring opportunity came in the 65th minute. The ball approached junior center midfielder Cora Haggarty and the Knights’ goalkeeper, who attempted to clear it out near the penalty arc. Haggarty blocked the ball, which then ricocheted towards the goal. 

“We’re all going, ‘yes, yes, yes!’ and it just rolled outside of the post,’” De Rosa said. “We thought that would have gone in for the winner, and that would have been a real special time. But we were just unlucky.” 

In the later stages of the second half especially, the matchup felt purely defensive on the Knights’ end — the sound of the final whistle coming just in the nick of time as Burlingame continued to pressure the goal.

The Panthers consistently got the ball to outside forwards junior Kaylee Ng and freshman Stella Newman, who impressed with their speed and prowess down the sidelines. Nonetheless, the team struggled to convert its crosses into scoring opportunities. 

“Our build out was really good. We were able to connect in the middle and make it forward. That final touch into the goal and that final shot is what we need to work on,” Ng said.

Burlingame went back to work in practice on Wednesday, drilling just that before their second matchup against an undefeated Menlo-Atherton squad on Thursday, Jan. 26. And while the fluky nature of soccer didn’t go their way on Tuesday, De Rosa was proud of the team’s efforts. 

“The most important thing is that they ended up with a tie. They didn’t give up a goal,” De Rosa said. “We had some chances to score, but I was not disappointed in the fact that the girls played really, really hard. If I had any disappointment it’s because the girls deserved to win the game and did not.”

The draw is certainly better than a loss, but Burlingame still faces an upward battle as it sits in the No. 5 spot in the PAL Bay standings. The team had an undefeated preseason campaign, which has paid dividends to keeping its overall record above .500 since the start of league play — a requirement in order to apply for an at-large bid in the Central Coast Section (CCS) tournament. 

“Every game is crucial. We can’t turn it off for a second,” senior central midfielder Olivia Mausehund said. “We need to get our wins in if we even want to consider CCS.”

With Tuesday night’s draw against Hillsdale, the Panthers have now faced every opponent in the league, including three narrow losses and a 2-0 statement victory against Carlmont High School. 

“The start of the [regular] season was definitely tough, but since our win against Carlmont we just gained more confidence. So even though we tied [against Hillsdale], it still gave us a confidence boost,” Mausehund said. 

All six teams in the PAL Bay are capable of beating one another on any given day, with low-scoring games up and down the division. 

“I think that we’re able to compete with every single team in the league,” Ng added. “This next round of games we just really need to find our own [and] play our game.”

Ultimately, Burlingame has a tough task: to focus on one game at a time, while keeping in mind that its postseason fate hinges on the slimmest margins. 

“Hey, who knows, [the girls] could go right up there and become an automatic qualifier because they’re playing teams that are ahead of them,” De Rosa said. “This is the first round, so let’s see if we can turn it around in the second round. We’ll see.”