Unlikely star shines

Miranda Dimase-Nordling didn't start the season on the varsity roster of the La Cañada High girls' soccer team, but she was the squad's star Friday against Rio Hondo League rival South Pasadena.

Dimase-Nordling scored La Cañada's first goal against South Pasadena, 55 minutes into the contest. Her goal not only helped in a 2-0 victory — South Pasadena's first league loss — but it was also the first league goal scored against the Tigers all season.

The game looked like it was headed for another scoreless draw, just like the last time both teams met at South Pasadena (7-5-5, 5-1-2 in league) on Jan. 14, as both sides failed to capitalize on scoring chances in the first half.

All that changed, however, when Megan Siepler played a through-ball that went to Morgan Rittichier, who fired a shot that went off a South Pasadena defender and bounced right to Dimase-Nordling. Dimase-Nordling powered a shot with her left foot, and the ball went right off Tigers goalie Angelique Ulmer's hands and into the net.

"There was no luck there at all — that goal was all heart. [Dimase-Nordling] fought for that. It was all about her desire," said La Cañada (10-5-1, 6-1-1) Coach Louie Bilowitz about her second varsity goal of the season.

"It felt so good," said Dimase-Nordling, who sat out the previous game against South Pasadena because she was sick. "I really wanted to beat them."

The Spartans were inches away from taking a 2-0 lead in the 70th minute as Ulmer just got her fingertips on a shot by Katrina Davis, pushing it out for a corner kick.

La Cañada ran a set play from the kick. The play calls for the ball to be sent in directly across the face of the goal. As one player serves to decoy the ball at the front post, another makes an uncontested run toward the ball down the back post and knocks it in for an easy goal.

The play didn't quite go as planned, though. Siepler sent the ball in from the corner, past the decoy, but no one followed it up. It didn't matter, because the ball went right under Ulmer and hit a South Pasadena defender, who was just standing inside the net, giving La Cañada a 2-0 lead.

"My first thought was, 'I can't kick this out, it has to work,' and as soon I kicked it, I knew it was in," Siepler said. "Nobody was making that run, so it was a good thing it did."

It was just the second time La Cañada had tried that play in a game and the first time it resulted in a goal.

The win keeps the Spartans on top of Rio Hondo League, but not by much, with two league games left in the season. La Cañada plays Blair today in a league contest.

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