GLENDALE — From an offensive standpoint, 2014 hasn’t been kind to the Flintridge Prep girls’ soccer team.
The Rebels had totaled one goal in racking up two defeats and one tie in three contests heading into Wednesday’s Prep League match versus visiting Westridge.
Perhaps all Flintridge Prep needed was just a little rest, as the Rebels scored all the offense needed in the first half of a 3-1 Prep League victory over the Tigers at the Glendale Sports Complex.
“For the girls, they just finished their midterms and had to deal with that stress. Their emotions were all over the place and I’m happy to get goals and get our two points [for the victory],” Rebels Coach Esteban Chavez said. “We’ll take them however we get them.”
The victory was the first for Flintridge Prep (5-4-4, 1-1-1 in league) since Dec. 27 in the team’s first match since Jan. 10.
Maybe no moment better illustrated that the Rebels’ fortunes were about to change more than when Flintridge Prep freshman defender Haley Harris scored the go-ahead goal in the 24th minute.
Tigers sophomore Ella Rushing had successfully stripped away possession from Rebels senior Chelsea Johnson about 15 yards from goal and passed to teammate Ashley Rodarte, whose clear-out attempt sailed 20 yards right into Harris’ path.
In a bit of a surprise, Harris popped up a 35-yard shot into the direction of Westridge junior goalie Sophie Tolomiczenko (three saves), who appeared to be battling the sun.
The shot curled into the net through the small gap between the bottom of the crossbar and the top of Tolomiczenko’s hand for the surprising match-winner.
“I was trying to score, but honestly I didn’t think that was going to happen,” said Harris, who netted her first career high school goal. “I just kicked it thinking that we could get a rebound shot or something else. That was great.”
Flintridge Prep then iced the match in the 37th minute on an attack started off a goal kick from Rebels goalie Lauren Stiles, whose punt landed just before midfield and was dribbled into the Tigers’ attacking third.
Rebels sophomore Katherine Pinney then assisted teammate Roya Gheissari, who scored from five yards out to put Flintridge Prep ahead, 3-1, going into the half.
“That was huge for us momentum-wise,” Chavez said. “Nothing is assumed, but we’re not really comfortable with a 2-1 lead at the half.
“Westridge has some dangerous weapons and can tie. Once we got up 3-1 that was more secure.”
The goal was third of the first half for Flintridge Prep, which overcame a sluggish first 12 to 13 minutes with a match-tying score from Lindsay Campbell off a throw-in from Ellie Morrisey in the 15th minute.
Campbell’s score countered an 11th-minute goal from the Tigers, who took a 1-0 advantage thanks to some great penalty-area passing from Julia Matthiessen to senior Whitney White, who laced in a five-yard goal.
“Flintridge Prep did very well with their set pieces and we were discouraged after they scored that first goal right after our own score,” said Tigers first-year Coach Nick Hazell, whose team outshot the Rebels, 20-14. “Obviously, this was a disappointment because we took ourselves out of the match and we’re lazy getting back onside.”
Chavez instructed his players to “step out” on occasion during the Tigers’ aggressive attack, which produced eight offsides calls without the need to employ a trap.
Westridge (5-5, 2-3) also peppered Stiles late in the second half in a desperate attempt to tie the match, but the sophomore responded with two big saves late, the first in the 78th minute when the goalie punched away a rocket from White from 12 yards.
A minute later, Laura Medina lobbed a 15-yard shot right into Stiles’ gut that counted as the final of 11 saves.
Flintridge Prep had one solid look in the second half on three-player combination that started on a corner kick from Pinney that was passed to Ali Sivilotti and finally to Cassie Redding, whose point-blank empty-net shot ricocheted off the ankle of unsuspecting Tigers defender Emma Hovanec out of play in the 60th minute.