PASADENA — Without its top offensive player, the Pasadena High girls’ soccer team could have been in danger when it hosted Glendale on Monday afternoon in Pacific League play.
Despite the absence of injured senior forward Amanda Speks and her 13 goals this season, the Bulldogs mounted one of their most impressive offensive displays this season in defeating the Nitros, 4-0.
The fundamental difference Monday was Pasadena’s total number of attempts, as the Bulldogs (8-2-1, 3-0) outshot the Nitros, 37-9, and took a 3-0 advantage into the half.
“The girls really executed what they were supposed to. Everyone played their role and that’s all I can ask for,” said Pasadena Coach Kamiko Johnson, who expects Speks back from a strained foot Friday against Crescenta Valley. “We didn’t have Amanda, but we had other girls step up.”
Bulldogs sophomore midfielder Samantha Koemans led the attack, scoring two goals, both coming in the first half.
Koemans created separation in the 20th minute when she rocketed a 25-yard free kick off the palms of leaping Nitros goalie Ashley Hermosillo that bounced off the bottom of the crossbar and in for a score to put Pasadena up, 2-0.
It appeared Glendale (1-6-2, 0-3) would trail by that score heading into the half, especially after Hermosillo made a great diving stop on a one-on-one counter-attack opportunity from freshman forward Leslie Vasquez.
Yet, a minute late, Koemans buried a 15-yard shot left of goal thanks to a cross from junior Hannah Habel that put Pasadena ahead, 3-0.
The Bulldogs’ first score came in the 10th minute on a well-placed 17-yard floating shot from junior Alise Hildreth that the midfielder floated over Hermosillo’s head.
Even though Glendale attempted nine shots, seven of which were on goal, most of those tries came from a range of 20-30 yards.
The Nitros created a pair of solid looks, the first when freshman forward Caroline Cubero fired a 16-yard shot saved by Bulldogs keeper Venice Santos, who finished with seven saves.
The second attempt came in the 36th minute when a corner kick from Emily Tharp was caught and headed into the back of a Bulldogs defender by Ashley Aquino.
The subsequent rebound was booted by senior Elena Pierce right to Santos from about 10 yards.
“Today was just a bad day. No one ran, no one wanted to do anything, there was no effort today,” Nitros Coach Victor Aquino said. “Pasadena is a good team, but I look at our first two games when we played [Crescenta Valley] and Arcadia — two of the better teams in league — and the way we played against those two teams was so much different.”
Pasadena’s final score came in the 77th minute when Habel was sent a through pass from freshman Genevieve Tikasingh and scored under the diving attempt of Hermosillo for a goal.
Ultimately, the final score may not be indicative of how well Hermosillo played, as the sophomore made 16 saves.
“She was incredible out there and almost stopped every shot,” Johnson said of Hermosillo. “But there’s only so much she can do. She needed help out there.”