NORTHEAST GLENDALE — With the Flintridge Prep girls' soccer team holding a decided advantage in shots and controlling play for the first 40 minutes, the opening half of Tuesday afternoon's nonleague meeting with La Salle at the Glendale Sports Complex was one-sided in every area except the one that counted most — the scoreboard.
After the Lancers turned the tables in the second half, getting the bulk of the scoring chances and clamping down on defense, the Rebels probably wished they had some of those opportunities from the scoreless first half back as the clock ticked down on a 1-0 La Salle win following the match's lone goal in the 65th minute.
"I think we got tired because we're not deep," said Prep Coach Esteban Chavez, whose team was limited to three shots (two on goal) after dominating possession during a first half in which it took eight shots with five on goal. "But there was no excuse, we should have played our game, but we didn't. We have nobody but ourselves to blame. We've got to capitalize."
La Salle (1-1-1) spread its attack out laterally in the second and used the wings to set up its offense, including the game-winning header by junior Alex Astorga, who was in her first game back after missing all of last season with an ACL injury.
"It feels good, I've waited a long time, but I got stronger and it feels great to play," said Astorga, who became the first player to score on the Rebels (2-1) this season. "I thought this was my only chance to score, so I dove for my dear life and I scored."
Astorga was among a crowd of Lancers in the goal box when Ally Puga fired a cross from the left corner that was diverted out of midair into the net.
"We did a poor job of defending that cross," Chavez said. "There was five to six people in the box for the other team and none of them were accounted for. We made a big mistake and they capitalized. We had a lot of opportunities and we didn't capitalize."
Prep, which entered ranked sixth in CIF Southern Section Division III, did have its share of opportunities early. Among them were a header in the goal box by Abby Letts that was saved by Lancers goalkeeper Cassidy Rey (seven saves), decent looks by Kate Lyon, Whitney Cohen and Arielle Baptiste that missed the mark and a short shot by Baptiste that was blocked and fumbled by Rey, but ultimately saved.
Prep's only two good chances in the second half both came after Astorga's goal, the first a shot Rey stopped by Kaelin King less than a minute after the Lancers took the lead and the second a quick curl and shot around her defender by Baptiste, but again right at Rey.
"I'm happy with the way we played in the second half," Lancers Coach Edgar Manvelyan said. "They had some good opportunities in the first half, but our defense did really well. We were very tight in the back and the midfield did their job. We shut them down."
Meanwhile, La Salle managed three second-half shots on goal even before Astorga found the net after only getting one in the first half.
"I feel like we possessed more and we settled down more," Astorga said. "It wasn't so much kick ball and we distributed well and opened up more."