Photo by Helena Fu
The girls’ varsity soccer team avenged Wednesday’s disappointing loss with a 3-0 shutout victory over the Monrovia Wildcats in an away match on Friday, January 12. Humbled and galvanized by San Marino’s triumph, the Tigers pulled out all stops to prove their authority– demonstrating play similar to their remarkable preseason. South Pas’ rout over Monrovia places the overall season record at 9-1-1 and the league record at 1-1.
Despite the Tigers’ strong win, the Wildcats still proved to be quite formidable opponents. Throughout the first thirty minutes of play, no gains were made by either team as the ball ricocheted up and down the length of the field. South Pas’ defense was on high alert; senior and junior defenders Celeste Amaya and Jade Myer were vital players rounding out the sides, preventing many Monrovia endeavors.
The match’s watershed moment came ten minutes before the close of the half when South Pas was awarded a free-kick from the 35 yard line. Naturally, all eyes turned to senior co-captain and defender Riley Segal, the Tigers’ resident power punter. Taking a quick breath, R. Segal let loose an accurate shot that was completed by a header from junior forward Jenna Noueihed. South Pasadena then held its ground against an aggressive and seething Wildcat attack for the remainder of the half.
“I knew Riley would get us a goal,” Amaya reflected, echoing the team’s universal sentiment. “I could feel it in my bones.”
The Wildcats’ outrage clearly manifested in their assertive second-half performance. Monrovia came out the gate much stronger than before, digging deep into South Pas territory. Regardless, the Wildcat’s additional heat could not smother the unstoppable Tiger blaze set alight by their first goal. Senior, sophomore, and junior midfielders Emily Dunn, Corey Segal, and Rainey Tilley displayed their now-typical rapid fire ball control, fueling Noueihed and junior forward Uma Hornish many opportunities on goal. It wasn’t long before Hornish seized a clean goal, assisted by an adept passing sequence bouncing from senior and sophomore forwards Isabel Bluml and Jessica Lat.
Determined to further substantiate its potential, South Pas continued the onslaught against Monrovia. The Wildcats certainly put up a strong fight, but were unprepared for a sudden corner kick granted to the Tigers. Acting quickly, Tilley played the ball short to Dunn, who had placed herself in optimal striking position. Taking the assist from Tilley, Dunn launched a beautiful shot that arced over the Monrovia defense and goalie, straight into the net.
“When we got the corner, I thought ‘quick kick!’– I wanted to catch them by surprise and they were!” Dunn remarked. “No one from Monrovia came to pressure me, so I had plenty of time to shoot an accurate shot, and it got in.”
Despite South Pas’ sound victory, its weaknesses were certainly peeking through towards the end of the half. The Tiger defense began to deteriorate somewhat, providing numerous goal possibilities for the Wildcats. Though Monrovia came extremely close to offsetting South Pas’ league, the Tigers have senior co-captain and goalkeeper Sophie Reynolds’ indefatigable efforts to thank for their pristine victory.
“This win is a great example of the girls’ resilience– they wanted this game. We played much better today; I think when it’s not hinging on a rivalry, they’re a lot more calm. Also, to have goals from three different players is huge,” head coach Victoria Lathrop commented. “Looking towards Wednesday, I think we owe it to Temple City from last year– having lost and tied to them– I’m definitely looking to get two wins against them this season.”
The Tigers hope this is the first win of many on the journey to CIF ahead; they will face against the capable Temple City Rams at home on Wednesday, January 17 before coming toe-to-toe with reigning league champion La Cañada two days after.