LA CANADA — There was one brief departure from what was a defensive-oriented game in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division III girls' soccer playoffs at Flintridge Prep Tuesday.
Unfortunately for the Rebels, it was the Brahmas that enjoyed the respite, scoring the game's first and only goal in the 42nd minute off a long throw-in for the 1-0 victory.
The manner in which Diamond Bar scratched out the game's lone tally didn't surprised Prep Coach Esteban Chavez.
“I didn't know, but I thought if they scored it would be on a long throw because they're good at it, they're dangerous,” Chavez said. “We gave them way too many throw-ins because of the small field. … One out of 20 [long throws], it came down to that today.”
A matter of seconds into the second half, Angela Schmidt heaved one of the Brahmas’ many deep throws into the Rebels' six-yard box. Diamond Bar's Tatum Lockett just got a head on the ball before Flintridge Prep goalkeeper Casey Cousineau (four saves) could get to it.
Lockett's header went up and over Prep's line of defense and Diamond Bar's Angie Puerta just beat a defender to the ball to bump it into the goal.
The one-goal hole loomed much larger for Flintridge Prep, which put together nine shots (seven on goal) in the game, on its compacted, rather sloppy on-campus field that didn't leave much room for offenses to operate.
While Prep's on-campus field may have limited it Tuesday, Chavez said there were no thoughts about playing at the Glendale Sports Complex, where it usually plays in the regular season.
“We like it here, we get our fans,” Chavez said. “If we go over there, nobody goes. … We like playing here, it's regulation.”
The Rebels (13-3-6) also had trouble holding possession throughout the contest and keeping the Brahmas (19-3-3) out of their half after giving up the goal.
“Because they were so direct, we were just clearing it,” Chavez said of the lack of offense. “When you clear it, it just goes anywhere. It just became one of those battles. When they scored on us, we had to be direct because there's no time to keep the ball. The girls did create two or three [chances], but just didn't catch.”
Chavez also took exception with the game's officiating, which made a few peculiar calls — whether it was on determining possession, yellow cards or free kicks — with Prep often on the unfortunate end of those decisions.
“It's unfortunate that we had somebody that's not ready to be refereeing a CIF – no, a high school game,” he said of the game's head ref. “It was really clear, that lineman had to tell her what to do, what to say. She was not ready to ref a high school game.”
Prep's offense assembled its best attacking sequences in a 21-minute span, from the 49th to the 70th minute marks.
Kaelin King started it when she rifled a shot on goal after a flick-on header from Marisa Alfaro in the 49th minute. King's hard shot was sent right into the stomach of Diamond Bar keeper Tyler Hunt for the save.
Alfaro got a look at goal herself two minutes later, as she bent a shot from the left side of the field to the top corner of the far post, but Hunt made a simple save on the long shot.
King sent Katherine Pinney on a run with a great through pass in the 62nd minute, but Pinney's shot from the left side of Diamond Bar's box to the low near post was saved on a dive by Hunt to keep the Brahmas in front.
There were few other chances for Prep from there, as Diamond Bar slowed the game down and spent most of the last 10 minutes in the Rebels' final third on a series of deep throws and corners.
It's a disappointing end to the season, as Flintridge Prep will say goodbye to eight key seniors in the offseason — Cousineau, Alfaro, King, Kaitlyn Kelleher, Whitney Cohen, Jordan Hutson, Abby Letts and Samantha Davies.
“This is the part of coaching girls’ high school that I hate the most, the very last game, because there's nothing to say,” Chavez said. “There will be a time to celebrate all four years, but right now it's just tough.”