PASADENA — More than half the Prep League season still remains, but the significance of Friday afternoon's meeting between the Flintridge Prep and host Mayfield Senior School girls' soccer teams wasn't lost on either side.
The Rebels bounced back from a tough defeat two days earlier, while keeping their ambitions of defending their league championship alive thanks to a 2-0 win at Robinson Park.
The triumph keeps the Rebels (9-2-1 overall, 3-1 in league) within striking range of first-place Poly (12-1, 3-0), which defeated Flintridge Prep, 3-2, on Wednesday with two goals over the final six minutes.
"We were heartbroken and it took a lot out of us physically and emotionally," Rebels Coach Esteban Chavez said of Wednesday match. "We had to do our best to get that out of our minds and get a win today and we did."
Rebels forward Kaelin King, whose goal put Flintridge Prep ahead, 2-1, versus Poly, was not denied Friday in scoring the match-winner.
The junior was batted back a pass from teammate Abby Letts after a scramble in front of the net and whistled a 14-yard shot under the dive of Cubs goalie Alana Victor for a goal to push Flintridge Prep ahead 1-0 in the 44th minute.
"We felt like the Poly game was our chance to shine and unfortunately it didn't go our way," King said. "Then in the first half, we had a lot of good chances to put some goals away and didn't.
"So, when I got that goal, it felt good."
The score came off a free kick from sophomore Chelsea Johnson from 35 yards that rattled around the penalty area before Letts got a handle and passed to King.
Just in case there was any doubt, King iced the match in the 69th minute, when she was headed a beautiful through pass from senior forward Arielle Baptiste that split two frozen Cubs defender and allowed King to bury a 12-yard cross that curled up and inside the far right post.
Flintridge Prep's offense may have been spurred by a tactical move from Chavez, who moved one of his four defenders to the wing.
Mayfield Coach Louis Hunt himself switched to a 3-5-2 over the final 20 minutes in an attempt to revive his offense.
The Cubs (7-3, 2-2), who attempted one shot inside the 18 over the first 60 minutes, invaded the goal box, first with a 15-footer from freshman Jessica Sarni that was caught by Rebels' goalie Casey Cousineau.
A minute later, Sarni crossed to freshman Maddie Pena, who one-hoped a 14-yarder to a well-positioned Cousineau.
"We got the ball into some semi-dangerous areas, but just couldn't get that crucial finish on frame to get back into it," Hunt said. "We gambled by going 3-5-2 and they got that killer goal at the end.
"But even with the loss, I'm proud of my girls. We haven't played Prep this well in years and it's nice to see we're getting stronger."
Overall, the Rebels outshot the Cubs, 17-10, while Cousineau registered her eighth shutout this season in finishing with five saves.
Cubs keeper Alana Victor finished with 12 saves.
Her best defensive series may come in the 28th minute when she denied both Johnson and Kate Lyon on two of three consecutive shots set up on a free kick.