Story by: Solana Singer
Photo by: Sunhye (Sunny) Choi
Girls’ soccer suffered a 0-3 loss to the San Marino Titans on Friday, Jan. 19.
“We had it in the first half, but I think a lot of us just got tired and gave up,” senior team captain and forward Iris Pollard said. “Especially after they scored, [our consistency] went way down. I felt like if we kept it up after they scored, then we could have had a different result instead of just giving up.”
The first half started off with promising action from both SPHS’s offense and defense. As San Marino closed in on South Pasadena, the Tigers diligently attempted to maneuver the ball towards the opposite goal. Junior defender Jacqueline Sides made a strong throw-in to Pollard, who passed to junior forward Saidbh Byrne. Byrne crossed the ball to senior team captain and midfielder Zoe Kim. Receiving a pass from Kim, freshman defender Bailey Shinada dribbled the ball up the field.
The Tigers successfully defended a free kick with junior goalie Ava Hartstein keeping the ball out of the home team’s net. Pollard steered the ball toward San Marino’s goal and attempted a pass, but no one could meet the ball in time before the opposing defense. San Marino continued to drive the ball toward South Pasadena’s goal. Sophomore midfielder Maggie McDonald, faking out a Titan offender, cleared the ball away from the Tigers’ goal. Tiger defense valiantly tried to return play to the opposite side of the field, but the Titans continued to hover around the goal. San Marino shot at the net and Hartstein caught it, but only after it had passed the boundary line. The scoreboard ticked up to 0-1.
Play after the following kickoff was once again overwhelmed by the Titans’ aggressive offense. After stealing the ball from an opposing player, Pollard made a powerful kick up the field, advancing South Pasadena toward San Marino’s goal. Sides took a corner kick, almost scoring a goal. The Titan goalie pushed the ball away from the net before it crossed the boundary line.
San Marino dribbled back down the field, making a shot at South Pasadena’s goal, which Hartstein blocked. Another Titan player caught the rebound and scored with two minutes left in the half. Kim, McDonald, and freshman defender Alice Rowley made significant advances with the remaining time, but not enough to score. The first half ended with San Marino holding a two-point lead over South Pasadena.
The second half began. Pollard drove toward the other side, blocking the opposing offense from major advances. Tiger offense took control; Byrne and sophomore forward Amada Cortes pushed play down the field. Byrne took a corner kick, but the ball rolled out of bounds before it could be scored. Cortes faked out a Titan player to close in on their goal. Receiving a throw-in, McDonald shot on the goal, but the ball was caught by the San Marino goalie.
Sophomore midfielder Rose Vandevelde took a corner kick, sending the ball to SPHS offense. McDonald made another straight shot, but it was blocked. Vandevelde took another corner and a Tiger goal seemed imminent, but the Titans’ defense proved a challenge for the home team. Byrne took a penalty shot, the ball soaring just above the net.
San Marino drove the ball down the field, but play was stopped by Hartstein before San Marino’s offense reached the goal. Vandevelde, Pollard, senior team captain and midfielder Simone Assaf, Cortes, and freshman defender Raquel Kelly-Gerakos executed an elegant chain of passes to force the ball towards the Titans’ goal. Vandevelde passed back to Kim, and Kim kicked to Cortes, who made an attempt on a goal but missed.
San Marino defense pressed forward, and Hartstein made an impressive save to block a shot on South Pasadena’s goal. The Tigers regained possession of the ball and returned to the other side of the field. Cortes made an excellent cross over to Byrne, but the ball was scooped up by the Titan goalie before Tiger offense could attempt a score. San Marino pushed back down the field, making a shot that was caught easily by Hartstein. After a Titan throw-in, a header by Kelly-Gerakos returned the ball to the Tigers. As South Pasadena’s offense tore down the field in hopes of a goal, the consistent power behind Kelly-Gerakos’ kicks patched the holes in their offensive passes.
A sudden drive down the field from San Marino led to a swift score in the corner of South Pasadena’s goal. San Marino shot again, but hit the side of the net. Hartstein continued to defend effectively, making clean catches to block the ball from crossing the goal line. The remaining 12 minutes saw the Tigers trying to topple the Titans’ three-point lead. Unfortunately, they were ultimately unsuccessful, and the game ended with a final score of 0-3.
“Our passing could probably be better,” Assaf said. “We have a lot of chemistry, but we have to capitalize on that more by making sure we’re passing to everybody.”
The Tigers will take on the La Cañada Spartans in an away game at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 24.