GLENDALE — In its first contest this season, the Flintridge Prep girls’ soccer team scored three goals, but settled for a tie.
Last week, the Rebels’ defense improved in its second match, but the offense only netted one score in another tie.
This time, a green Flintridge Prep squad benefited from both a stout offensive and defensive effort in notching its first victory this year, 3-1, over visiting South Pasadena in nonleague play on Tuesday afternoon at the Glendale Sports Complex.
“This is a young, inexperienced team and this was good for us to get a win. When I look at South Pasadena, they’re in the same boat because they also have a young team,” Rebels Coach Esteban Chavez said. “This was a confidence-builder, but not just because we won, but because we played well.”
Rebels senior defender Chelsea Johnson, who paced her team’s offense with two assists, helped set up the match-winner in the 44th minute.
The Rebels (1-0-2) were awarded a corner kick after a shot from sophomore forward Katherine Pinney, set up on a great cross from freshman Jillian Brady, was deflected out of play by a Tigers defender.
The subsequent corner kick from Johnson sailed into the goal mouth and found sophomore Isabella Boyle, who one-timed a seven-yard shot past Tigers junior goalie Madeline Kause (eight saves) that put Flintridge Prep up, 2-1.
“It feels good to finally get that first win,” Boyle said. “I got a great pass.”
Exactly 20 minutes later, the Rebels put the finishing touches on their win with a 64th-minute goal that initially looked like a blown opportunity when sophomore forward Alexis Gordon crossed into the penalty area just a foot or two outside the range of a streaking Pinney.
Fortunately for the Rebels, while Pinney was out of play, freshman teammate Chloe Law was in perfect position and chipped a left-to-right shot that pinged off the post and in, which cemented the Rebels’ 3-1 victory.
“We’re definitely a young team, but we can feel it coming together, especially on the offensive side of things,” Johnson said. “We had more connected passes and more communication today than in our other two games.”
Johnson helped put the Rebels on the board in the fifth minute when she laced a beautiful through ball from midfield, which split two defenders and found Pinney in stride. The sophomore rocketed a 10-yard goal to put Flintridge Prep up, 1-0.
South Pasadena answered back seven minutes later when senior striker Kelly Brady scored only the second goal for the Tigers (0-6) this season from 12 meters out past keeper Lauren Stiles (11 saves) off an assist from Ryann Ramirez.
Both teams then struggled to find an offense rhythm until the first few minutes of the second half, when momentum may have permanently changed.
Tigers junior defender Jacqueline Mejia had a wide-open look in the 42nd minute, created off a steal from South Pasadena freshman Jayda Weeks, but missed high from 10 yards out.
Two minutes later, Boyle and company took the lead for good.
“We’ve been scoring goals this season, which has been huge,” Chavez said, “but the best thing is that we continue to improve.”