Through the first four Rio Hondo League matches, the La Cañada High and Temple City girls’ soccer teams have set the tone.
It’s led to the squads going undefeated thus far in league heading into the first matchup of the season between the Spartans and Rams.
In a physical game that included several good scoring chances for each team, La Cañada and Temple City battled to a 0-0 tie Wednesday at Temple City.
First-place Temple City is 15-5-2, 3-0-1 in league for 10 points and maintained a two-point lead over second-place La Cañada (4-7-2, 2-0-2) with four league matches remaining. The Rams and Spartans will meet again Feb. 6 at La Cañada in a regular-season finale.
“You’d like to get the win, but I’m happy with the way we played today against a good team,” La Cañada coach Kevin Neumeier said. “We played well and it took a lot of hard work to get the tie against a team that’s very physical.
“We’re improving each game and we did have a couple of good scoring opportunities to win. The preseason games get you ready for league and we want to see what kind of teams in league will get us ready for the playoffs.”
The Spartans Rams each had one good scoring chance in the second half.
A direct kick by La Cañada’s Haley Decker tipped off the hands of Temple City goalkeeper Elliana Zellien (six saves) and struck the crossbar before the ball came back to Zellien in the 53rd minute.
“I got all of that shot and I thought it might drop down and go in,” Decker said. “Playing [on a grass field], it was hard to connect with passes and getting off shots.
“I liked the way we played and we’re getting better and trusting each other a lot more.”
Temple City’s best opportunity came in the 71st minute when La Cañada goalkeeper Ashley Schafer leaped to stop a shot by Alex Bershtein.
In the first half, Zellien snagged a header by Grace Patton in the 15th minute.
About two minutes later, a shot by Temple City’s Angeline Loera went wide of the left post.
Just past the midway mark in the first half, La Cañada’s Shania Clorefine bounced a shot off Zellien that skipped wide of the far left post.
“It was a pretty even game, but it didn’t really have any flow,” Temple City coach Joe Franco said. “There were too many fouls on both teams and it was a game both teams wanted.
“We’re able to stay two points ahead of them. This was our first physical game this season and it’s going to help us in the playoffs.”