Tologs cruise to regional win

LOS ANGELES — Perhaps if anything was to be taken from Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy's tranquil 6-1 win over Horizon Christian Academy in the opening round of the CIF Southern California Division III Regional Championships tournament, it was just how good the Tologs are when considering co-coaches Kathy Desmond and Frank Pace were upset at their team's lackluster approach in a game in which a victory was had by a five-goal margin.

"I kind of suspected we would come out this way," said Desmond on Tuesday at Occidental College after Katie Johnson and Savannah Viola each tabbed a pair of goals and Tera Trujillo added two assists in a game that wasn't even as close as the lopsided margin. "After Friday night, it's hard to rebound."

On Friday, Sacred Heart (22-1-1) defeated San Clemente, 1-0, to win the CIF Southern Section Division I championship — a first for the Tologs program or any other girls' soccer program in area history.

On Tuesday, now as the top-ranked team in the nation, according to ESPN Rise, top-seeded Sacred Heart began its quest to repeat as Division III Regional champs against a Horizon Christian (10-11-4) squad that won the San Diego Section's Division V crown, but was clearly overmatched.

Just two minutes in, Krista Meaglia crossed a pass inside from deep on the left side to Johnson, who shot in a low ball for an easy score and the rout was on, as the Tologs won their 10th-straight game with an outcome that didn't come as a surprise to many.

"I don't think we were the only people that predicted that," Desmond said.

Nonetheless, neither Desmond or Pace were happy with the rather jovial and lax attitudes had by the Tologs on the field and, particularly, on the bench.

"It's just a matter of respecting themselves, respecting the game and the opposition," Desmond said.

Nevertheless, it was still an overwhelmingly dominant performance, as Sacred Heart moved on to host Thursday's semifinal against Southern Section Division VI champion St. Margaret's, which beat Central Valley Christian, 2-1, in overtime. The Tologs will host the match at 4 p.m. at Occidental College.

"We got the job done, which is the most important part," said Tologs senior defender Natalie Zeenni, who assisted on a Viola goal in the 46th minute.

Johnson played a ball up to Trujillo in the 16th minute that Trujillo played forward to Koemans, who one-timed a flick in for another low shot and a 2-0 advantage.

Two minutes later, Johnson took a ball from Trujillo, made a nice move and drilled in a shot from roughly 25 yards out.

After Viola's 46th-minute tally that came on a header off a Zeenni cross, she drilled an unbelievable shot that came from outside the penalty box on the right wing from roughly 20-some yards out and found the inside of the far post.

Horizon Christian's Sarah Pullman then delivered a goal for the Panthers, something neither Esperanza or San Clemente had done in the Division I semifinals or finals.

Sacred Heart's final tally was had by Micaela Snashall, who booted in a shot after Haley James' initial attempt caromed off the post.

"It was nice for everybody to get to play," Desmond said.

And after running the Division I gauntlet, which saw a string of tightly contested games against highly ranked opposition, in many ways, the Tologs were happy to have a relaxing afternoon at the soccer field.

"It feels good, we need a break," Zeenni said. "I'm worn out."

In the end, Sacred Heart outshot its foe, 38-2. Jillian Jacobs and Viola each had goals called back and the Tologs' effort came with starting defenders Kayla Mills and Alexa Montgomery on the sidelines with injuries.

And still, the match proved a bit more arduous than the Tologs' initial victory in last season's regionals when they dismantled LACES, 7-0, and found themselves dribbling around the field in a what turned into a game of keep-away so as not to run up the score.

"This team was tougher, I'm actually grateful for that," Desmond said. "We have a big challenge on Thursday."

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