Spartans suffer wrath of Khan

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — Winning a draw was just as important as a goal for the Westridge School lacrosse team as its Prep League road game with La Cañada went to the wire.

Sara Khan did both in the dwindling minutes for Westridge Tuesday as she scored with a 1:41 left to give the Tigers a two-goal cushion and won a draw, following a La Cañada goal 15 seconds later, that allowed them to drain the clock and hold on for a narrow 9-8 victory.

"It was important [to kill clock] because when the game gets close you don't want to get lazy because you never know," said Khan, who finished with two goals on the day along with the Tigers' Tatum Mannion and Chelsea Burke-Gomez. "They had a 15-second shot and we were scared, but we just kept it up."

It was a tightly-contested game, featuring six ties with no team holding a lead greater than two goals.

"It was a good [win] after a two-week vacation — it's fantastic," said Westridge Coach Theresa Mullally, whose team's only other win came in a 12-10 home victory over La Cañada on March 16. "I am still stressed out, still nervous but it was great. They had a good practice yesterday in their first day back [from spring break] and it showed."

The Tigers (2-4, 2-3 in league) looked to have sealed the victory as they used a 3-0 run on goals from Caitlin Emslie, Mannion and Khan to take a 9-7 lead with 1:41 left.

An Alison Chang goal after La Cañada quickly won the ensuing draw cut the deficit to one with 1:26 remaining. Katherine Landesman notched an assist on the play as she whipped a pass to a streaking Chang in the middle of the field.

All the Spartans could do was watch, though, as the Tigers ran out the clock after Khan controlled the draw and ran out the last 86 seconds.

"We just need to be more aggressive in general and that comes through when we've got the ball and when we don't have the ball," La Cañada Coach Kyle Smith said. "You can't score goals when you don't have the ball."

The loss spoiled an impressive game in net from La Cañada's Caroline Gordon, who had nine saves to keep the Spartans in the game despite a 25-16 shot deficit.

"We are so glad to have Caroline," Smith said. "She is playing out of her mind as always. It's always nice and we're going to miss her next year."

La Cañada (1-9, 1-3) took a 2-0 lead out the gate on goals from Tiffany Chen and Landesman.

Westridge tied it up with goals from Khan and Mannion and took a 4-3 lead into halftime on consecutive goals from Eda Reed and Burke-Gomez, following a score from La Cañada's Paige Milne.

Christine Noh notched two Spartans goals about six minutes into the second half to tie the game at 4 and 5 after a goal from Westridge's Lili Lim.

The Spartans took their first lead of the second half, 7-6, with 10:45 remaining on a back-handed shot from Blake Dietrich.

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