PASADENA — With a look of surprise, Kaelin King darted toward the net and accomplished two things Friday afternoon.
The Flintridge Prep girls' soccer player took advantage of being uncovered and scored into an empty net. She also helped the Rebels move closer to first place in the ever-tightening Prep League.
"I just happened to be at the right place at the right time and it was meant to happen," said King, who helped spur Flintridge Prep to a 2-0 league road victory against rival Pasadena Poly on a sun-splashed field. "They had played tight defense up to that point and it really was anybody's game.
"It came down to which team would make the first mistake."
Flintridge Prep improved to 12-3-2, 4-1-1 in league for nine points. Pasadena Poly dropped to 9-1-3, 4-1-2 in league for 10 points. Flintridge Prep, which shared the league championship with Chadwick last season, might have seized control of league with Friday's victory and also has a match in hand.
After a scoreless first half, the Rebels went on the attack. In the 42nd minute, Brooke Elby fired a shot that Pasadena Poly goalkeeper Steph Tercero stopped. However, the rebound went to King, who scored to make it 1-0.
Flintridge Prep made it 2-0 on a penalty shot in the 53rd minute. A Pasadena Poly defender tripped the University of North Carolina-bound Elby, a reigning All-Area first-team member, in the box. Elby landed awkwardly on the field before being removed from the contest with what appeared to be a right-knee injury.
Flintridge Prep Coach Esteban Chavez, whose team battled to a 1-1 tie against the Panthers in the first meeting Jan. 7 at Flintridge Prep, summoned Kate Lyon to take the penalty shot. Lyon beat Tercero with a low shot to cap the scoring.
In the first half, Flintridge Prep controlled the flow at midfield. However, Pasadena Poly generated the better scoring opportunities.
Flintridge Prep sophomore goalkeeper Casey Cousineau made seven first-half saves and kept the Panthers at bay in he second half.
"I got out there and just attacked the ball," said Cousineau, who finished with 13 saves. "It's a game where I needed to get it done.
"It's about winning the game and getting closer [to first place in league]."
Chavez, the reigning All-Area Coach of the Year, said the Rebels needed to remain patient in the second half.
"In a 0-0 game, we needed to win this game," Chavez said. "We had to be ready at all times.
"We got that goal and they then had to come at us. We got the win and now we are in control. Yes, there's going to be pressure still when we play Mayfield, Westridge or Chadwick. Our hope is to win league."
The Rebels blanked an opponent for the 10th time this season.
Flintridge Prep will next compete in another league road match against Mayfield at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at Jackie Robinson Park in Pasadena.