LOS ANGELES — It certainly wasn't the result expected for the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy soccer team.
A road team with five wins entering the match upset a favored Tologs squad with 15 victories in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs.
Laguna Hills used a goal in the 33rd minute to defeat Sacred Heart, 1-0, on Thursday at Occidental College, ending the Tologs’ season much earlier than they thought they’d be finished.
“There isn’t much you can say,” Sacred Heart Coach Cesar Hidalgo said. “You prepare a team and if a team doesn’t respond, this is the result.
“We were not mentally ready. We were not tough enough. We had a team that could’ve gone farther.”
Sacred Heart had reason to be confident heading into the contest.
The Tologs had one loss to Laguna Hills’ 10. Sacred Heart was also unbeaten in its previous six matches, going 5-0-1 and finishing second in the tough Mission League. Laguna Hills was third in the Sea View League, and was one of two teams in the entire division with a losing record.
The records didn’t matter Thursday.
Sacred Heart (15-2-4) peppered Laguna Hills goalkeeper Ali Scott with seven first-half shots, most of which were inside the penalty box and inches from landing inside the net.
Laguna Hills had one shot on goal in the opening half, the only one it needed to score.
Rachel McKee of Laguna Hills (6-10-7) sent a corner kick inside the penalty box in the 33rd minute. Teammate Kassie Olivas gathered the ball amidst a group of players and took a shot to the left corner of the net. It wasn't a powerful shot, but it evaded the Tologs goalkeeper.
“I was definitely surprised the shot went in,” said Tologs defender/midfielder Kayla Mills, one of eight seniors on Sacred Heart. “I don’t think she should’ve got the touch off. It was a lousy goal.”
It was also the type of goal that the Tologs have surrendered this season.
“We had difficulty with set plays this season,” Hidalgo said. “Most of the goals that were scored on us were on set plays. Credit to them. They saw the opportunity and they capitalized on it.”
The Tologs kept their offensive pressure in the second half with seven shots, but were left frustrated with shots that sailed too high or opportunities that were stopped by Scott, who finished with eight saves.
“She’s class,” Laguna Hills coach Cory Dilbeck said of Scott, who will lead her team into a second-round match against Villa Park, the No. 4 seed, or JSerra on Tuesday. “She’s what keeps us in games.”
Dilbeck’s squad stayed in the lead with what he said was a “determined” effort in the end.
The end of the Tologs seniors’ high school soccer careers — which also includes decorated standouts Sarah Teegarden, Krista Meaglia and Savannah Viola — came too fast for Mills, who’ll play at USC, and her teammates.
Said Mills: “This was not a reflection of the type of season we should’ve had.”