Win rings hollow for Tologs

Gabriel Rizk

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — About the only difference between the first and second matches the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy soccer team played on Monday, the opening day of pool play in the 2008 Los Tacos Holiday Festival at the Glendale Sports Complex, was in the final outcome.

For the Tologs, the latter ended on a winning note, when a 1-1 tie with La Salle was settled by a Sinead Fleming goal that clinched a 4-2 advantage in penalty kicks.

It was the second straight game for Sacred Heart (6-3-2) that came down to penalty kicks, as the Tologs fell, 5-4, earlier in the day to Pasadena after playing to another 1-1 draw.

“I’ve never taken a [penalty kick] when it actually mattered, so it was really nerve-wracking,” said Fleming, a senior defender and co-captain, who nestled a shot untouched into the left side of the goal to clinch the win just after Tologs goalkeeper Dominique Oro had stopped a shot by La Salle’s Nikki Tartaglione to keep Sacred Heart ahead, 3-2. “We had to finish and we did.”

While the win on penalty kicks gave the Tologs something to celebrate after a somewhat frustrating day, it didn’t do much to bolster their hopes of qualifying for the tournament championship today.

Since penalty-kick wins only count for one point in the tournament’s scoring system, Sacred Heart is currently in third place in the four-team Red Bracket behind the Bulldogs, who have four points, and the Lancers, who have three.

Provided the Tologs can defeat Desert Christian in their early meeting today, the only scenario that would allow them to pull into a three-way tie and have a chance to play the Green Bracket winner for the title would be a La Salle penalty-kick win over Pasadena when those two teams square off.

The ensuing tiebreaker would first come down to fewest goals allowed in pool play and then to most goals scored in the event a tie still exists.

The Tologs could have retained considerably more control over their destiny had they been able to hold on to a 1-0 lead over La Salle (5-1-4) with just over two minutes left in the 60-minute match.

A last-minute breakdown, however, allowed the Lancers to put Sacred Heart right back in a familiar, if undesired, situation.

“We got confused in the end defensively and gave up a goal we probably shouldn’t give up,” Sacred Heart co-Coach Frank Pace said of La Salle’s tying tally by Taylor Mediano, who got a clear shot on a run up the right side of the penalty box off a pass from Whitney Tashiro near the 58th-minute mark. “The result of the tiebreaker is really meaningless — we’re trying to get into a position where we can hold on to a one-goal lead with less than 10 minutes left in the game. I’m really thinking about [the fact that] we didn’t hold on to that victory that we should have.”

Sacred Heart, which shared the 2007 Los Tacos Holiday Festival championship with Mission League rival Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, took a 1-0 lead over La Salle just before the end of the first half.

A 28th-minute goal off the foot of junior midfielder Danielle Molina was set up by a pair of sharp passes, the first from freshman midfielder Lauren Torres up the right side to freshman forward Breeana Koemans, who crossed over to Molina for the assist.

Pip Harragin, Torres and Bianca Garoian all connected on penalty kicks for the Tologs in their victory over La Salle.

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