After a rough start to the week, South Pasadena High’s girls’ soccer team responded with a key victory over La Cañada on Thursday to maintain first place in the Rio Hondo League.
The Tigers, who dropped a 2-1 contest to rival San Marino last Tuesday, battled back from the setback and took out their disappointment on the Spartans two days later.
Let the good times roll again as South Pasadena has a one game lock on first place in league play at 4-1-1 (11-3-1 overall), ahead of second place San Marino at 3-2-1 (13-2-2) and La Canada with a 2-3-1 mark (5-9-1).
All the scoring in the La Canada game came in the second half. The Spartans tallied first to lead 1-0 before the Tigers’ Uma Hornish tied it, confidently booting in a penalty kick in the left corner of the goal after teammate Jenna Noueihed was fouled.
The Tigers went on top 2-1 as Noueihed beat a Spartan defender to the ball along the left sideline and sent a crossing pass to Hornish, who slotted the ball past the outstretched arms of the La Canada goalkeeper.
The goal was a big one as the Tigers held off the Spartans the rest of the way.
“We fell back a bit and got stuck in our defensive third as time wore on,” explained South Pasadena High coach Tory Lathrop. “With about six minutes to go we were able to hold the ball deep in the Spartan defense, drawing fouls, forcing the Spartans to give up corner kicks and throw ins – just really stifling their ability to get forward.”
The Tigers coach likes the way her club stood up to the challenge after La Cañada took the lead in the second half. “It takes a lot for a team to concede a goal and dig in together to get it right back,” said Lathrop. “I think it was also important for us to secure this win to regain some of our confidence as a group and remind ourselves we’re a good, solid team.”
It was a big bounce back victory by a team determined to shake off the narrow loss to San Marino earlier in the week. In that battle, the Titans scored in the first six minutes of play. The Tigers evened it with a goal by Hornish, off an assist by Lorraine Tilley, to end the half.
San Marino scored with about 14 minutes to go in game and the Titans held on for the win. The Titans kept South Pasadena goalie Noemi Howland busy as she made 14 saves on the day.
“We played well defensively despite the score,” said Lathrop of her team’s performance against San Marino. “We just did a poor job of transitioning from defense to offense and found ourselves more limited and unable to get in the Titan defensive third as the game wore on. We have to find more offensive options if we want to win games soundly.”
The Tigers will have an opportunity to record a sound victory in a rare Saturday match, this one at home against 1-2-1 Monrovia. It will be Senior Night with a special ceremony following the 5 p.m. match to honor those leaving the program. The junior varsity plays the Wildcats at 3:30 p.m.