LA CRESCENTA — Down two goals midway through the second half, the Flintridge Prep girls’ soccer team showcased its championship pedigree to stay unbeaten.
Trailing in a match is a problem the Rebels, who won the CIF Southern Section Division III title and advanced to the CIF Southern California Regional Division III title match last season, have not accustomed to lately.
Flintridge Prep completed an exciting comeback, scoring three goals in the final 20 minutes, to earn a 4-3 nonleague victory against host Crescenta Valley on Thursday.
Mckenna Dominguez, a reigning All-Area pick, scored two goals in the stretch, including the match-winning tally with about eight minutes remaining.
Dominguez, battling a cold for more than a week, had enough energy to ignite Flintridge Prep (13-0-1), ranked No. 1 in Division II.
“We have a lot of returners and we aren’t used to being down like that,” said Dominguez, a sophomore. “Usually, we’ve been winning games at 5-0, 6-0 or 8-0, so we had to step it up here at the end.
“This was a game that went back and forth and was really intense. CV was on us it seemed whenever we had the ball and they played so well. We were able to keep our composure and draw from our experiences.”
Dominguez came down the left side and launched a shot past Crescenta Valley goalkeeper Audrey Brown (19 saves) in the 72nd minute to put the Rebels ahead for good en route to winning their 11th match in a row.
Flintridge Prep peppered Brown, who held her own with some big saves earlier.
“The No. 1 thing is that I don’t feel we were lucky at all,” said Flintridge Prep coach Esteban Chavez, the reigning All-Area Girls’ Soccer Coach of the Year. “You can never take anything away from CV. Give them credit and they are a young team.
“I think we were a little off technically after playing six matches earlier during the [winter] break. There was no excuse to be off technically. We were off with our dribbling, passing and shooting. We know we have the ability [to be better]. Mckenna has been fighting a bad cough, but she showed that she just doesn’t stop [on the field].”
Things looked good for Crescenta Valley (7-3-3) in the first half.
Crescenta Valley sophomore Chloe Ataya scored the first of her three goals in the 29th minute to give the Faclons — who have no seniors — a 1-0 lead.
Ataya, who picked up All-Area recognition last season, gave the confident Falcons a 2-0 lead in the 49th minute.
Prep’s Helen Schaefer, a reigning All-Area honoree, cut the lead to 2-1 in the 54th minute.
Ataya completed her hat trick when she lofted a shot past Flintridge Prep goalkeeper Libby Penn just inside the far right post to give the Falcons a 3-1 lead in the 58th minute.
Dominguez sliced the deficit to 3-2, getting behind the Crescenta Valley defenders and beating Brown.
A 30-yard direct kick by Mikaela Celeste, also an reigning All-Area honoree, dipped under Brown to knot it at 3 in the 69th minute.
“It’s a tough one,” Crescenta Valley coach Tyrasha Peterson said. “There’s definitely things to learn from here. We can take away the positives and we know there are things to work on.
“This was a great test to see where we are and I liked the heart and grit that we showed against a good team. We just need to play the entire 80 minutes.”