Tornadoes no match for Pasadena Poly

PASADENA — Pasadena Poly and Hoover High faced off on Wednesday to kick off their respective high school girls' soccer seasons.

Heading into the match, Poly was looking to establish a connection on the field and try to build off last year's success. Hoover was just trying to get an assessment of what it has to work with this year.

In resounding fashion, Poly defeated Hoover, 7-1, in a nonleague match at Poly.

"It was a very good vibe," said Panther sophomore Noel Askins, who scored four goals in the winning effort. "We were all super pumped. We lost a lot of people last year and we're anxious to see what this new team would do, and it turned out really well."

The Panthers (1-0) reached the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division III postseason last year after finishing second in the Prep League behind Flintridge Prep.

Poly Coach Pat Gray liked what he saw, particularly with his forwards.

"I wanted to see us connect, and I thought at times we did a nice job at that," Gray said. "We've got some pretty good fire power up front, so we've got some girls who can dribble by players."

Gray added that he would like to see more aggressiveness in going after head balls.

The Panthers dominated the game throughout, nonetheless, scoring seven goals on 16 shots. The team held a 5-0 advantage at halftime and scored its seventh goal with almost 29 minutes remaining.

"Just a very good connection with the defense, the midfield and the forwards," said Askins, a forward, of her scoring opportunities. "We just have really good communication, so I knew exactly where to go."

Sarah Mendenhall added two goals and an assist, and Evan Gancedo added a goal and an assist. Anna Wohl and Katie Wardlaw also each had an assist.

Coming off a 4-11-2 season in which they finished seventh in the Pacific League, the Tornadoes (0-1) are finding their way, but showed some promise.

"Physically, we don't match up with a lot of teams," said Hoover second-year Coach Donal Kennedy. "They were fast, they were tall, they moved the ball very well. We definitely got stretched defensively. Game experience is kind of priceless, and it's a huge learning experience. I'm taking a lot of positives out of it."

Sophomore Talin Kojababian tallied the Tornadoes' lone goal.

"It was a giant learning experience to kind of feel where we are as far as our preparation for the rest of the season," Kennedy said. "I think these things are tremendous exercises in finding our weaknesses, what needs to be addressed."

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