Burroughs, Providence boys' soccer teams ready for playoff openers

By Anonymous
Burroughs, Providence boys' soccer teams ready for playoff openers

Paul Swaine and the Providence High boys' soccer team will host La Sierra Adademy Friday to open the CIF playoffs. (Tim Berger / Staff Photographer)

The Burroughs High boys' soccer team has had its share of success over the years in the CIF Southern Section playoffs, most recently advancing to the Division III quarterfinals last season.

Providence, on the other hand, has had no success in the postseason and is searching for its first playoff victory.

While the Indians will be looking to add to their success, the Pioneers will be trying to make history when the teams open the playoffs Friday.

Providence begins the Division VII playoffs with a likely 3 p.m. home match at Occidental College against La Sierra Academy. The Indians, who have moved up to Division II, will be on the road for a 5 p.m. first-round contest against Aliso Niguel.

"I really don't have to say anything to the guys or try and motivate them about getting the program's first playoff victory — they already know it," Providence coach Ronald Neef said. "We have a good group of seniors and getting that win would mean a great deal to them.

"That is a definite goal for this team."

The Pioneers (10-4-1) enter the playoffs after winning their second straight Independence League championship. Last season, Providence hosted a first-round match and fell to Verbum Dei, 5-0, in a driving rainstorm.

"Last year in that monsoon weather, it really didn't matter who we played or where we played, it was so bad," Neef said. "But there is something to be said to be able to play at home for the playoffs. It's nice to be in front of your home crowd and hopefully get some of the jitters out.

"If we are fortunate enough to win, I fully expect us to be on the road for the second round and that will be exciting."

Providence will meet No. 4 seed La Sierra Academy (13-4), which finished third in the Arrowhead League.

A second-round match Feb. 21 would pit Providence or La Sierra against Milken Community (8-5, No. 2 Liberty League) or Environmental Charter (10-2-1, No. 2 Mulholland League).

Burroughs (14-7-1), which finished runner-up in the Pacific League behind Crescenta Valley (No. 2 seed in Division III), hits the road for its first-round contest. Aliso Niguel (9-3-1) tied for second in the South Coast League.

"As a program, we've been here before and we know what to expect in the playoffs," Burroughs coach Mike Kodama said. "But we are so young, we have guys who haven't been in the playoffs.

"We will play a team from a good league and we have to take a long road trip. But the boys are upbeat and we will have a week to get ready for the game, something that we didn't get to do during much during the season."

A win by Burroughs would advance it to the second round Feb. 21 against Corona Centennial (11-2-2, Big VIII League champion) or Long Beach Cabrillo (12-6-7, No. 3 Moore League).