Tologs take it to Foothill

LOS ANGELES — When all was said and done, it was the blowout everyone expected.

But at the onset, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy's soccer team was struggling to find its finishing touch until a pair of fortuitous goals by Katie Johnson and Tera Trujillo found their way into the back of the net.

"I think the first goal got the momentum going for us," said Johnson, who played a part in three goals during the Tologs' 5-1 win over visiting Foothill on Thursday afternoon at Occidental College in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs. "After we scored, it was more relaxed, we were able to play our game."

Johnson intercepted a deflection just in front of the Foothill goal and quickly shot a low ball inside the far post with the Foothill goalie going the opposite way. That was in the 35th minute and two minutes later, Trujillo took a pass from Alexa Montgomery and lifted a shot from 35 yards out that fell through the outstretched fingers of the opposing goalie.

"Honestly, I just felt like taking a shot," Trujillo said. "It just felt like the thing to do."

Thereafter, the floodgates opened, as the Tologs (17-1-1) scored three second-half goals and cruised to an easy victory over Foothill (10-11-2) and will now take on Aliso Niguel, a 2-0 winner over Northwood, on the road on Tuesday.

"We weren't taking anything for granted," said Sacred Heart co-Coach Kathy Desmond, whose squad has advanced to the second round three straight seasons. "It's Division I, third- , fourth-place teams, it doesn't matter. There's no 10-0 wins."

While the Tologs were on the defensive in the early going, they eventually took over possession at a clear rate, but their shots weren't falling until Johnson's score broke it open.

However, it was one in which she had a wide-open look at the net in a one-on-one that she said she'll remember more than the goal she scored.

"It was kind of embarrassing," she said of her wide-left shot.

Nonetheless, it was her work along the backline that led to a 3-0 lead, as she had her jersey pulled and was then tackled in the penalty box. Lauren Torres then drilled in the subsequent penalty shot.

Johnson later switched a pass to a wide-open Alyssa Conti, who dribbled on net, fired a point-blank shot that was saved and then blasted in the rebound.

The backline of Torres, Montgomery, Natalie Zeenni and Kayla Mills was steady throughout, allowing Foothill just five shots, while Sacred Heart took 23. The backline had one hiccup and it resulted in an Anne McKee goal with just more than 20 minutes left.

Katelyn Almeida brought the lead back up to four, though. Trujillo pushed the ball up the far sideline to Savannah Viola, who crossed a high ball across the face of the net, drawing the keeper out. Almeida, calm and composed, tapped in an easy shot into an exposed net.

Thus, despite a bit of a slow start, the Tologs thought they resoundingly took care of their business at hand.

"Definitely, it was 5-1," Trujillo said.

Still, after last season's run to the CIF semifinals, they're aware that their game must improve as the opposition does.

"I think that we did our job," Johnson said. "But I think we need to get ready, be more prepared for the first 15 minutes when we're playing tougher teams."

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