NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Without a top player and down its head coach, circumstances weren't exactly in favor of the Flintridge Prep girls' soccer team in the Rebels' season opener Friday afternoon at the Glendale Sports Complex.
Then again, the Rebels had the benefit of playing visiting Marshall Fundamental, which was down four starters, and took advantage with dominant midfield play in a 4-0 nonleague victory.
“We said before the game, during the game and at halftime that we had to look for touches and control the ball,” said Rebels assistant Sean Beattie, who was filling in for head coach Esteban Chavez, who is at the NCAA Men’s Soccer Final Four. “If you control the ball, you eliminate their offense and we did.”
Flintridge Prep outshot Marshall, 14-2, and maintained possession in its attacking third through most of the contest.
Even so, the Rebels only led, 1-0, at the half and 2-0 within the first 65 minutes before icing the game with two goals over the final 15 minutes.
Flintridge Prep senior Kaelin King put the contest away in the 69th minute when she peppered a 10-yard shot into the left corner off an assist from senior Whitney Cohen to put the Rebels ahead, 3-0.
“Chavez wanted us to play a new style where we end up dominating the midfield since we have more players there,” said King, who had two goals. “Since me, Marisa [Alfaro] and [Kaitlin Liston] have all played together, we know each other well and have chemistry.”
King’s goal was followed by a score from freshman Maddie Weirick in the 78th minute off a corner kick from Alfaro headed to Weirick from Kaityln Kelleher.
King initially kicked off the scoring for the Rebels in the second half when she finished off a four-touch possession inside the 18 for Flintridge Prep that started with a pass from Alexis Gordon to Jordan Huston, who fired a shot deflected by Eagles freshman keeper Jocelyn Lopez.
The lost ball was hauled in by Katherine Pinney, who found a wide-open King for a close-range goal in the 45th minute that put Flintridge Prep up 2-0.
“What impressed me most about this game was that we not only got every player involved, but also the bench,” Beattie said. “It was a solid all-around offense.”
Rebels senior Samantha Davies opened the scoring in the 11th minute thanks to the first of two assists from Cohen.
Flintridge Prep’s dominance at midfield afforded Rebels backup goalie Sarah Gilman to relax.
Gilman was filling in for starter Casey Cousineau, who is out due to club commitments, but is expected back next week.
Marshall (1-2), which entered the season top-ranked in Division VII, had trouble generating offense without senior striker Isabel Robles, who is out for another two to four weeks with a knee injury.
The Eagles’ two shots came in the first half, with junior midfielder Jordan Snowden rifling a shot up the back of a defender and just wide left in the 32nd minute, and freshman Erika Perez also shooting far left in the 19th minute.
“We had a bad game. We were missing key players and we had seven freshman in there,” Eagles Coach Esteban Villanueva said. “There’s nothing much we could do against a good opponent. Give Flintridge Prep credit because they just played better.”