NORTHEAST GLENDALE — With the game in hand by the early stages of the second half, the Flintridge Prep girls' soccer team could afford to coast a bit down the stretch of its nonleague match against visiting San Marino at the Glendale Sports Complex on Tuesday.
But while Rebels Coach Esteban Chavez wasn’t thrilled with the way his team closed out the game, he was more than pleased with a different kind of finishing touch in the scoring flare flashed by freshman forward Katherine Pinney.
Pinney scored two goals in the Rebels’ 3-0 win to run her season total to three after she scored the first of her career in the season opener on Friday and added an unexpected new wrinkle to Prep’s offensive attack.
“I knew she was a pretty good player, but she’s young and I didn’t expect this,” said Chavez, whose team improved to 2-0 with its second straight shutout after blanking Marshall Fundamental, 4-0. “We’re happy because we need somebody to finish. I mean we have [senior forward] Kaelin King, but we don’t have two or three [players] to consistently be scoring goals.”
Pinney scored 20 minutes into the match when forward Samantha Davies, making a run on a ball sent up from the midfield by Marisa Alfaro, collided with San Marino goalkeeper Elizabeth Hannan and the ball popped back out to Pinney for a high 20-yard shot that put Prep up, 1-0.
“I was a little nervous before this game and the last game, but I feel like I really get into it when I’m in the game,” Pinney said. “It’s just really important to score early just to get that forward momentum so that we can keep playing hard and score more goals and have a confidence boost.”
The next goal for Prep followed in just 10 more minutes when an Abby Letts throw-in from the five-yard line was deflected backward in the goal box to senior defender Jordan Hutson on the back post for a an open header.
Prep never let the Titans get any breathing room on offense, holding them to just two shots in the first half, one on goal, and five in the game.
“I think they played a very good game defensively and didn’t allow anything behind them,” said San Marino Coach Jaime Acuna, whose team suffered its first loss of the year to fall to 4-1. “It took us some time to adjust to their play and they were physical, they didn’t let us have anything easy.
“They did what they needed to do and we fell short of what we needed to do as far as the adjustments.”
The Rebels went up, 3-0, in the 46th minute when Pinney again got open on a pass from Alfaro in the middle of the penalty box and hammered home the shot.
Pinney nearly got an assist later in the half when she sent a ball off the end line back to King, whose low shot was smoked toward the goal, but deflected on a dive by Hannan. The carom went to Hutson, but her shot on the open goal sailed wide left. They were essentially the only chances Prep got down the stretch.
“In the first half I felt we were pretty strong and we were doing what we were supposed to do,” Chavez said. “The game did drop off in the second half. It might be the fitness or it might be because we got comfortable because we were up, 3-0.
“I was disappointed, it was a huge drop-off. We cannot afford to do that, we have to keep it pretty much at the same level.”