LOS ANGELES — A penalty-kick goal from Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy senior Kayla Mills in the 66th minute salvaged what could have been a missed opportunity for the Tologs in a 1-0 nonleague victory over visiting Brea Olinda High on Saturday afternoon at Occidental College's Jack Kemp Stadium.
Mills, a defender, was taken down in the goal box in the 65th minute, which resulted in a penalty attempt for the Tologs (5-0-1).
With the opportunity to insert an offensive player, the Tologs coaching staff and players trusted in Mills, who rewarded their faith with a goal into the right corner of the net as Wildcats' junior goalie Amber Rojas guessed left.
"It was nice that the team had the belief in me because I was kind of scared," Mills said. "When [senior midfielder] Hailey [James] stepped to me, I said, 'hey, you go ahead.' When I realized I was going to take the shot, I said a little prayer."
Rojas' anticipation of the shot might have been her lone mistake in an otherwise brilliant day. The keeper finished with a match-high nine saves and was a huge reason why the Tologs were kept scoreless on the field despite 27 shots, 10 of which were on frame.
"She made a couple of saves that she really had no business making," "Wildcats Coach Mike Knaus said. "We stayed in the game because of her."
Flintridge Sacred Heart appeared destined to break a scoreless stalemate with four shots through the first five minutes of the second half, including an attempt when Miranda Saldivar just shot wide from 10 yards out and sophomore Hannah Armendariz had a point-blank shot denied on a sliding save by Rojas.
"When we get the opportunities, we just haven't capitalized," Saldivar said. "We have a lot of good passing, a lot of good touches, but we're just missing shots."
The Tologs dominated nearly all facets of the first half except the scoreboard, as the match remained scoreless.
Perhaps the wackiest set of circumstances took place in the 33rd minute when an exceptional through ball from senior Claire Kostelnik found teammate Krista Meaglia open 40 yards from goal. Meaglia managed to stay onside and race toward the net as Rojas charged toward her.
Both nearly collided 20 yards from goal when Meaglia's shot appeared to be deflected by a sliding Rojas and rolled out of bounds. Yet, the official ruled no contact had been made and a potential corner kick turned into a goal kick.
The no-call brought grumbles for the crowd and a frantic protest from associate coach Frank Pace, who tumbled to the turf of the sidelines while arguing the call.
Pace's gesture merited him a quick red card.
Prior to the antics, it appeared the Tologs would break through when Saldivar sent a brilliant cross inside the penalty area to teammate Armendariz. The Tologs' sophomore striker laced a seven-yard shot that hit off the left post, bounced back into play and was eventually cleared out in the fourth minute.
In the sixth minute, junior forward Laura Thompson threaded a through ball to James, who appeared to have a wide open shot, but at the last minute had her attempt blocked by hard-charging defender Alexis Moreno.
Wildcats defenders played a huge role in preserving the goose egg, including when sweeper Sydney Bickel batted out a header try from Thompson that had leaped over the head of Rojas in the 40th minute.