Rebels avoid late loss

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — For the Flintridge Prep girls' soccer team, Wednesday's victory against Pasadena Poly allowed the Rebels to control their own destiny for the Prep League title.

They weren't about to ruin their fortunes Friday against Mayfield.

Noting that their home match against Mayfield was just as important as the win against the Panthers that put them in sole possession of first place, the Rebels built a three-goal lead and almost blew it before coming away with a 3-2 league victory.

"Our league is not over yet," Prep senior defender Connell Studenmund said.

The Rebels have two league matches remaining, with a road contest against Webb on Tuesday and the finale against visiting Westridge on Thursday, teams that Prep combined to beat, 9-0, in previous meetings.

Prep (13-2-1, 7-1) knows the danger of overlooking an opponent. It wants the league title, which would be its third in a row, all to itself.

"We're taking it one game at a time," senior Rebels forward Arielle Baptiste said.

Baptiste also said the Rebels were physically fatigued from Wednesday's win, while Prep Coach Esteban Chavez said his team was emotionally fatigued.

The fatigue didn't make a difference, though.

Two minutes into the match, Rebels junior defender Abby Letts lobbed a perfect throw inside the box that Baptiste headed in for a goal.

With the Rebel defense controlling the match, Prep took the one-goal lead into halftime.

The Rebels were quick to strike in the second half, as well.

Kaelin King's shot from the top of the box hit the crossbar and crossed the goal line, giving the Rebels a 2-0 lead six minutes in the second half. A second goal by Baptiste 10 minutes later seemed to allow the Rebels to relax for the final 23 minutes.

Mayfield Coach Louis Hunt said he asked his team to continue to play hard until the final whistle.

"Sometimes when the opponent goes up, 3-0, they can feel like the game is over," Hunt said.

Chavez said his team didn't let down in the end, rather Mayfield executed well and took chances.

"[Hunt] took his chances," Chavez said. "He wasn't afraid to lose, 6-0. We panicked. A lot of credit goes to their coach."

Mayfield (9-5, 4-4) cut into the lead when Kennedy Dinius scored in the 64th minute, as the Cubs increased their pressure on a Rebel defense that has allowed more than one goal three times this season.

A Prep hand ball inside the box gave Mayfield a penalty kick in the 73rd minute, which Charlotte Anderson converted on with a strike to the left of Rebel goalkeeper Casey Cousineau, who had six saves.

Fortunately for the Rebels, Mayfield didn't threaten to score again.

"Flintridge Prep worked extremely hard," Hunt said. "That's their big strength. They work really hard. They have class to match it. I think that's why they're the best team in league."

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