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Tie with No. 1 South Pasadena hinders La Cañada soccer's title hopes

LA CAÑADA — Following a 0-0 tie in girls' soccer between La Cañada High and South Pasadena, the only cheers came from the Tigers' side.

The Spartans came into Friday afternoon's match with a chance to control their own destiny in the hopes of winning a second straight Rio Hondo League championship. However, a tie to South Pasadena, ranked No. 1 in CIF Southern Section Division V, severely hindered that chance.

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"We knew coming in that we could control things, but we needed to beat them today to do that," La Cañada coach Kevin Neumeier said. "Now, we need a little help."

South Pasadena (16-3-1, 5-1-1 in league) can clinch the league championship with a win against Temple City on Tuesday. However, if the Tigers lose their final match and La Cañada (9-6-3, 3-1-2) wins its two last contests against Monrovia on Tuesday and San Marino on Thursday, the Spartans would claim the title.

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"We were the one who needed the good result today, which was a win," Neumeier said. "[South Pasadena] could sit back and let us come at them and hopefully hit us with the counter.

"We needed to force things because we really needed the win. It's not bad when you get a tie against a team like that, but it's bad when you really needed the win."

The Spartans defense did a good job at limiting the Tigers to very few scoring chances. That defense clamped down and never let the South Pasadena forwards make any legitimate runs.

Scoring chances were scarce by both sides in the first half. La Cañada had a chance in the 25th minute when Charlotte Tapp made a pass to Gianna Mor, who missed wide right with a hard shot.

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The Spartans had another chance in the 32nd minute. Camile Lorrenz had a free kick from 40 yards out and the ball went in front to Haley Decker, who directed the ball wide right.

"I thought we played really well as a team and we connected well with a lot of passes," said La Cañada captain Chloe Kouyoumdjian. "But sometimes the final result doesn't reflect all that work.

"We had some chances and the forwards were making some good runs, but again it sometimes just doesn't work out the way you were hoping it would."

The Spartans consistently kept the ball in the South Pasadena third for the first 10 minutes of the second half. Kouyoumdjian had a good shot in the 46th minute and another in the 50th and Katie Scoville had one in the 49th minute.

In a final chance for La Cañada in the 78th minute, Tapp had a free kick from 20 yards out, but the shot was directed right at the goalkeeper, who didn't have to move to make the save.

Twitter: @jefftsports

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