Photo by Tony Chen
The girls’ soccer team suffered a defeat to the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers in its first CIF matchup, 1-0, on Wednesday, Feb. 6. The Trailblazers struck early in the match and the Tigers couldn’t recover in time to keep their postseason hopes alive.
Sierra Canyon dominated the possession throughout the first half, as quick and accurate passing broke down the Tiger defense and led to a Trailblazer score four minutes into the game. The Tigers applied more intense pressure after the goal, leading to multiple counter attacks, but they were unable to capitalize. The Trailblazers continued their organized attack, but senior keeper Noemi Howland stayed calm, saving multiple Sierra Canyon shots.
The Tiger offense struggled to string together successful passes and only found opportunities off of scrambles. Whenever the Tigers managed to create open looks, their shots were unable to test the opposing keeper. The most successful sequence started with senior Emma Barrera, who puzzled a Sierra Canyon player with a Ronaldo chop. Barrera found an open Uma Hornish, who then laid it off to junior Hannah Thompson. In the box, Thompson’s left-footed shot was deflected out of bounds for a corner, and the Tigers went into halftime in a 1-0 deficit.
In the second half, the Tigers kept their composure and started to piece together some threatening attacks. Hornish’s crafty dribbling sparked a counter-attack and Barrera placed a perfect pass, but the Tiger shot went wide. As the Trailblazers settled into a more defensive approach, South Pas started to gain more possession. Barrera’s passing and Hornish’s dribbling created many quality chances, but the Sierra Canyon keeper defended well, keeping her clean sheet.
As the time dwindled, South Pas pushed farther up the field, drawing fouls and earning free kicks. Yet the team continued to come up short. The Trailblazers forced the Tigers away from the middle of the pitch and South Pas struggled to generate any attack from the flanks.
The Tigers had one final opportunity off of a free kick, but Barrera’s boot was saved by the outstretched arms of the Trailblazer goalie, effectively ending any chance at an equalizer.
“I think that we definitely fought hard,” junior Jessica Lat said. “We had a lot of opportunities, but it didn’t really go our way this time.”
The match concludes the Tigers’ 12-5-1 league championship season. Hornish led the South Pas attack with 15 goals and four assists, while senior Jenna Noueihed tallied three goals and three assists. Howland finished another spectacular season with 100 saves and four clean sheets.
Next year’s team will have big shoes to fill, as the seniors were responsible for 24 of the 29 season goals and 10 of the 12 assists. The Tigers will look to continue their reign in the Rio Hondo League, as they compete for their third consecutive league title.