LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — Having only lost twice in 14 matches this season, the Flintridge Prep girls' soccer team has a pretty long memory when it comes to those isolated defeats.
Thus, Tuesday's rematch with Mayfield presented an opportunity for the Rebels to not only pick up some points in the Prep League title chase, but to avenge one of the two blemishes on their record after losing to the Cubs in a tournament match on Dec. 1.
Both were accomplished in short order, with Prep taking a lead it would never relinquish in the second minute and soundly beating Mayfield, 4-1, behind a hat trick from senior forward Brooke Elby, her fourth effort with at least three tallies on the season.
"We've definitely been working on this [matchup] really hard at practice, adjusting our formation to their formation," Elby said. "They play with two outsides and we play three in the middle, so we adjusted and made sure our girls got wide, so we could cover every angle and it definitely worked."
The Rebels (9-2-3, 2-0-1 in league) caught Mayfield on the retreat with just two defenders back in the second minute and Elby scored on an assist by Arielle Baptiste, her team-leading 10th helper of the year.
In the 13th minute, Connell Studenmund scored on an unassisted straightaway blast about 25 yards away from the Cubs' goal for a 2-0 lead. It was the first career goal for the all-league junior defender.
"Usually both teams have momentum at the beginning, it's whoever gets the first goal that gets the starting momentum," Elby said. "When we got that first goal, they were a little shocked, so they were a little on their toes. When we got the second one, they kind of broke down a little bit."
The 33rd minute saw Prep extend its lead to 3-0 on Elby' second goal, a running attack from the left side set up by a steal and assist by Kaitlin Liston.
It took Mayfield (4-5-1, 1-2 in league) about the first 15 minutes of the second half to get its first goal on the board and it came when Emily Balfour flicked a 40-yard free kick through the legs of goalkeeper Casey Cousineau, who otherwise turned in a tidy seven-save performance.
But 19 minutes later, Elby made it academic with a close shot off an effective extra pass from Kaelin King to complete a nice sequence of ball movement. It was Elby's team-best 22nd of the season.
"They came back strong the second half," Elby said, "but we came back strong, too."
Prep, which was without Cousineau and several prominent defensive players in its 2-1 loss to Mayfield, in which Elby scored the only goal, has now come back to beat both of the teams which have beaten it this year, having avenged a loss to Alta Loma on Dec. 30.
"I told the girls let's not come in here thinking, 'Oh, we didn't have players [last time],'" Rebels Coach Esteban Chavez said. "Bottom line is they beat us, 2-1, but it gave us confidence that we did have those six players back."