SOUTH PASADENA — Having held its three opponents scoreless through the first 220 minutes and change of the season, the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy soccer team finally relinquished its first goal when South Pasadena's Jessica Moog went high on a penalty kick.
The reigning All-Area selection’s tally in the 69th minute, however, proved to be the lone blemish in an otherwise spotless night for the Tologs, as they’d long before iced a 4-1 nonleague victory at South Pasadena High on Wednesday evening.
“The chemistry was really good and I think the speed of play definitely improved,” said Tologs senior midfielder Sarah Teegarden, who had two goals on a day in which she finalized her future playing days at Wake Forest next year. “I think we got a rhythm very quickly, so that helped.”
A beautiful kick by senior Savannah Viola, off an assist from freshman Lauren Savo, began the scoring in the eighth minute when Viola broke along the right side, stopped short, juked inside and let loose on a left-footed shot that curved inside the far post.
“I was pretty confident with my shot,” she said. “It’s something I’ve been working on since I was a little kid, shooting with my left foot.
“When I score the left-footed goals, it’s definitely exciting.”
Viola finished with the goal and two assists, coming on a throw-in and a pinpoint corner kick that was headed in by Teegarden in the first minute of the second half for a 3-0 lead.
Junior Casey Basso scored on a low kick inside the near post off Viola’s throw-in during the 33rd minute. Teegarden, off a feed from Miranda Saldivar, closed out the Tologs scoring when she drilled a straight-away shot from 25 yards out in the second half.
The win improved the Tologs to 3-0 and, though they’d previously defeated Maranatha, 5-0, the win over the Tigers (4-5) was, by all accounts, their most impressive thus far.
“We know our defense is gonna be good,” said first-year Tologs Coach Cesar Hidalgo, whose Kayla Mills-led defense allowed just three shots. “The first two games, our offense wasn’t as crisp. That’s one of the things we’ve been working on is we know our offense needs to get better.”
For the Tigers, who advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division VI semifinals, South Pas Coach Randy Lilavois looked at Wednesday’s game as a step in the right direction after playing the Division I Tologs.
“I think it says something about our program that the better teams in the area want to play us now,” said Lilavois, who will coach his last game for South Pas when it plays Flintridge Prep on Wednesday. “We picked our schedule with a lot of these games. This is gonna prepare us for league and teams like San Marino and La Cañada.”
Aside from Moog’s goal, the biggest highlight — though it turned into a low light — was the goalkeeping of Angelique Ulmer, a reigning All-CIF pick, who made six first-half saves, including a few of the diving variety, to rob a Tologs squad that fired off 26 in the game and 17 in the first half.
At the conclusion of the first half, though, Tologs senior Hailey James broke in and bounced a shot off the post. James’ rebound came to sophomore Hannah Armendariz, who fired off a shot that also hit the post. Viola collected the ensuing rebound and kicked a shot in, but was ruled offsides. During the melee, Ulmer, who made two diving attempts at shots, was struck in the head by a rebound and also hit her head on the post, according to Lilavois. She was removed for the second half.
Lilavois, who is moving to Alabama, though he said he’s likely to return to coach the Pasadena City College women’s team in the fall of 2013, will be replaced by assistant Eva Dixon.
As for the Tologs moving forward, so far so good.
“So far, we feel that not only are we playing well, but the girls are getting along well,” Hidalgo said. “Overall, we’re happy with the results.”