It was, arguably, the best team South Pasadena High has ever fielded in girls’ soccer and sadly for coach Tory Lathrop and her squad the Tigers’ bid for a Southern California title came up short.
After rolling through the Rio Hondo League with a 6-1-1 record, the Tigers knocked over five straight opponents, including Westminster 1-0 in the finals, to win the CIF Division 5 championship.
With the coveted crown, South Pasadena went on to the 2018 CIF Southern California Regional Girls’ Soccer Championships, where they fell short its second game. Needing three victories, the Tigers took care of business in the first round, soundly beating Marquez 4-0 before dropping a 3-0 semifinal decision to eventual winner Ventura, which beat Paloma Valley for the title.
It marked the first time in SPHS girls’ varsity soccer history that a South Pasadena High team has advanced to the CIF Southern California Regionals.
“It wasn’t our strongest showing but despite the rough start they dug deep to finish this match against a very competitive Ventura team,” said South Pasadena High coach Tory Lathrop after the season-ending loss to the Cougars.
Following the loss to the Cougars, Lathrop said her team left Larrabee Stadium on the Ventura High campus “with heads held high, proud of what they did together, proud to be Tigers. I’m proud of every single one of these young women.”
In the eyes of Lathrop, South Pasadena, which finished with an impressive record 21-4-3 overall record, may have just run out of steam after 28 games.
“This team has been working day in and day out on the practice pitch since August,” added Lathrop. “On top of their academics and extra-curricular activities, and with the post-season run, it was the longest season they had ever seen. “We said we would ride this train as far as we could and our last stop was in Ventura.”
South Pasadena gave up two goals in the first half against Ventura and one in the second. Junior goalie Noemi Howland had four saves for the Tigers in the first half against the Tigers while Sophie Reynolds was forced to make another six over the final 40 minutes.
The two goalkeepers had a remarkable season as they split the action on the field and gave up only nine goals all season, setting a new school record.
The Tiger’ coach called the 2017-18 campaign “unforgettable,” capped by a remarkable postseason run.
“They started the season unknown, almost forgotten based on past seasons,” said Lathrop, who pushed the Tigers to the top of CIF in only her second season. “Our seniors will never forget winning a Rio Hondo League title and a CIF Divisional title in the pouring rain. Our Juniors will take these memories and use them as motivation for next season. Our underclassmen can say they were a part of a championship squad and will continue to help grow this program.”