Victoria Lathrop and her South Pasadena High girls’ soccer team realize the road only gets more difficult the deeper they go into the CIF-Southern Section playoffs.
Playing with plenty of confidence, the Tigers continue to let the good times roll as they march toward a CIF Division 5 title after blanking host Maranatha 3-0 on Tuesday.
The win sets up a 4 p.m. home quarterfinal match on Friday against Beaumont, giving local fans an opportunity to see a talented Tigers’ squad in action.
“I’m continually in awe of them – they are truly one of the best teams I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with,” said Lathrop, the South Pas coach, pleased by what she’s seeing from her team. “They are all heart and determination right now. It’s not a bad combination heading into a quarterfinal match.”
South Pasadena High sophomore Corey Segal scored an unassisted goal against Maranatha, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead while junior Lorraine Tilley, on an assist by Segal, gave the visitors a 2-0 cushion at the break. Senior Emily Dunn added to the mix, putting the Tigers out in front 3-0 with an unassisted second half goal. South Pasadena goalie Noemi Howland, just a junior, was forced to make only one save in the first half while senior Sophie Reynolds had four saves in the second half.
“Corey Segal got us on the scoreboard in the sixth minute of play – one of our fastest starts all season!” said Lathrop after the game. “Lorraine Tilley scored with her head off a great cross from Corey. It was a gorgeous goal!”
The Tigers’ insurance goal came from Emily Dunn with about about three minutes remaining in the contest. “It was a beautiful volleyed shot to beat the keeper from about 20 yards out,” explained the coach. “By far, it was one of our best games as far as team communication, work ethic, and just general want of a win.”
Said Dunn, “I am really proud of the way we played. We were communicating, connecting our passes, and working for each other. I am very happy that we were victorious and am excited for the next game.”
Beaumont is coming off a 1-0 victory over Shurr in its second round game, setting the stage for Friday’s quarterfinal. The Cougars finished second in the Mountain Pass League behind Hemet (7-0-3) with an impressive 6-2-2 mark. On the season, Beaumont has a lofty 18-6-3 overall record.
Lathrop knows she’s got something special, pleased with her club’s mounting victories, especially in the postseason. South Pasadena has an 8-0-1 record in its last nine games and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. The Tigers are the real deal, improving to 17-3-3 overall on the season after turning away a solid Maranatha squad, which ended its season with a 5-6-3 mark.
The Tigers haven’t conceded a goal since January 10, have allowed only five – yes five – all season while scoring 72 and have 17 shuntout victories.They opened the playoffs last Thursday on the road against Glendale with a 2-0 win.
South Pasadena was nearly perfect in Rio Hondo League play this season, grabbing the championship with a 6-1-1 record.
Lathrop and her players will tell you, with the string of victories, camaraderie and, well, simply, the fun experienced on the field, the Tigers are in a good place.
“I believe that our performance reflected the amount of hard work and effort we have been putting in since the summer,” said Isabel Bluml, a senior talking after the Tigers’ road win over Maranatha. “I am very excited for our next match on Friday and hope that we continue our winning streak!”
Added Tilley, a midfielder: “Yesterday evening’s CIF match really showcased our strength as a unified team. The smaller turf field played to this strength in that we were able to play a possession style game with short passes and coordinated offensive attacks. As a team, I think it was one of our most well-executed and fun matches, and I’m happy that we got the win, too.”
South Pasadena High’s girls soccer team keeps rolling along and will play in the CIF semifinals on Friday at home against Beaumont. The game begins at 4 p.m.