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Bell of the ball

Burbank’s Anabell Gonzalez has been an offense force

February 24, 2010|By Jeff Tully

If anybody knows the talent and ability of Anabell Gonzalez on the soccer field, it’s teammate Marlene Mejia.

The star forwards on the Burbank High girls’ team have been playing together since they were fledging athletes on an under-10 squad, and they have provided the Bulldogs with an offensive punch this season.

It has been Gonzalez, a junior, who has emerged as the team’s premier scorer this year. She has helped Burbank thrive in the Pacific League and advance to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs.

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“She is just a solid, consistent individual who is just a great player,” said Mejia, a senior. “We just work so well together and I have been able to score some of my goals this year because of her hard work.

“We work off of each other a lot and we know what the other is going to do most of the time.”

Burbank Coach Loi Phan said he has placed a great deal of pressure on Gonzalez — who transferred from Burroughs two years ago — to help carry the team’s offense.

The coach admits that the junior has a lot riding on her shoulders.

“I tell her that she has to do her best because she is such a big part of our offense,” Phan said. “At times, we ask her to do a lot, like ‘Hey, go and score through five girls.’ But she puts in the hard work.”

Phan added that Gonzalez’s skills have improved this season.

“The great thing about Anabell is her speed,” he said. “She is getting better and I don’t think she’s tapped into her full potential.”

Despite the responsibilities, Gonzalez has been able to put up impressive numbers this season. Along with 20 goals, she has also tallied 14 assists.

She helped Burbank (16-4-1) place second in the Pacific League and set a program record for wins in league.

The Bulldogs won their postseason opener Friday, 5-2, to earn just the second playoff win in program history.

The team faces Beckman at 3 p.m. today in a second-round CIF match at Burbank High. A victory would put the Bulldogs into the quarterfinals for the first time.

“I do feel the pressure to score,” said Gonzalez, who has been playing soccer from the age of 5. “But I just go out there and try and play my best. Really, that’s about the only thing that I can do.”

Gonzalez, who plays in the Burbank Red Machine club program, said she has perfected her game after focusing solely on soccer.

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