Rebels win Prep title

GLENDALE — With a quick score, a whole lot of defense and a little help from Westridge School, the Flintridge Prep girls' soccer team made history on Tuesday afternoon at Chadwick High.

The Rebels bested the host Dolphins, 1-0, on the strength of a Kaelin King score to win their first-ever outright Prep League championship and, in the process, win their first repeat title after taking home a share of the crown last season.

"The girls accomplished something big, I think," said Rebels Coach Esteban Chavez.

King scored in just the second minute off a high cross from Alina Okamoto to provide the Rebels with all the scoring they needed for a victory and a title-clinching one at that.

While the Rebels improved to 15-3-2 overall and 7-1-1 in league for 15 points with a game remaining against Westridge, Pasadena Poly, which came into Tuesday holding a precarious one-point lead in the standings, lost to Westridge and finished its season at 6-2-2 in league for 14 points.

According to Chavez, who's also a club coach with ties to players in the Westridge-Poly game, he received text messages during his postgame talk with his team that Poly had lost. Naturally, the news of the fact that the Rebels had indeed clinched the title set off a celebration.

"We were super excited," he said. "We got our win today. Just to lock it today releases some pressure."

Prep, ranked ninth in CIF Southern Section Division III, went 1-0-1 against 10th-ranked Poly, with the Rebels' only league loss coming to Chadwick (5-10-3, 3-4-2), which shared the title with Prep last year.

After King's goal, the defense and the goalkeeping of Casey Cousineau came up huge for the Rebels to preserve the shutout. Cousineau registered 11 saves on the day.

"We defend well, we fight hard and we make it difficult for them," said Chavez, whose defensive backline consisted of Connell Studenmund, Whitney Cohen, Chelsea Johnson and Jordan Hutson. "We're really solid in the back."

In the teams' first meeting, Prep also scored quickly for a 1-0 lead before Chadwick rallied for a 2-1 win.

"We played the same way, but we were able to hold them off [this time]," said Chavez, whose team got the win despite playing without starting forward Arielle Baptiste.

Prep will finish out the regular season on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. when it hosts Westridge at Flintridge Prep.

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