La Cañada, South Pas get nothing settled

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — Scoring chances were few and far between when the La Cañada and South Pasadena high girls' soccer teams clashed in a Rio Hondo League game Wednesday.

The Tigers put all their best chances together in the final eight minutes as they rattled off one promising attack after another. The chances resulted in four off-target shots, as both sides finished even in a 0-0 tie.

The tie was disheartening for South Pasadena (10-2-4, 2-0-2 in league) after it created a wide-open shot in stoppage time, but the shot was sent over the net. It put the exclamation point on a game where both teams struggled to get their offenses going.

"It's tough tying when you know you have the opportunity to win, but we're progressing in this league and the first time you play a team you learn something about them," South Pasadena Coach Randy Lilavois said. "La Cañada is a tough team and they play with a lot of heart and a lot of emotion and that's what kept them in the game today."

La Cañada Coach Louie Bilowitz couldn't have been happier with the result.

"It was terrific," he said. "I thought my girls played very hard they're just very young. I was very happy with this game. We are playing better every game."

South Pasadena mounted several late attacks in the final eight minutes of the game. The first came on a ball that was sent over La Cañada's back line to give the Tigers a two-on-one opportunity. The chance was cleared away for a deep throw, which later resulted in a corner kick.

The corner kick found its way to South Pas' Jazmin Jackmon who headed it just over the goal and out of play for a goal kick with 6:30 left in the game. The Tigers earned another deep throw three minutes later. The throw was sent to South Pasadena's Jackie Mejia, who fired a shot over the goal.

The Tigers had two more chances spoiled by Spartans center back Kara Lankey in the final two minutes of the game. One of Lankey's clearances resulted in another deep throw for South Pas. The ball was bounced around in La Cañada's box off the throw before eventually being cleared by the Spartans' Olivia Leyva.

"I think we played better in the second half," Lilavois said. "We played a little more defensive, tentative in the first half. In the second half, we attacked and went at them. We created a lot of opportunities, but we just didn't put any of them away."

All the chances made life hard on Spartan goalkeeper Haley Austin, who finished the game with four saves.

"It was really nerve-racking, because every time we kicked it out it came back to us," Austin said. "I am so happy for my defense. If they weren't there, the ball would have been in the back of the net all of the time."

The best scoring opportunity came at the last possible moment for the Tigers. South Pas' Jessica Moog ran the ball into La Cañada's box from the left side and crossed the ball in front of the net. Austin dove to grab the ball, but it rolled off her fingers and fell to a South Pas player whose wide-open shot sailed over the net.

"When I dove and I didn't catch it I was freaking out," Austin said. "I saw the other girl hit it and I was about to cry. I was so happy it didn't go in."

The game was called after the goal kick as both sides finished without a goal.

The final result showed how much the Spartans have progressed this year, Bilowitz said.

"Two weeks ago this team would've killed us," he said. "We wouldn't have been able to stay with them and now we can. Hopefully next time we'll be better than we are now."

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