LOS ANGELES — It would be easy to look at a roster that features as many freshmen — three — as it does seniors, and conclude the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy soccer team is lacking in experience.
But the Tologs showed from the start on Saturday afternoon at Occidental College that the new faces aren't having any trouble integrating with the veterans.
Freshman Sophia Saldivar found senior captain Casey Basso on the other end of a 36-yard free kick in the eighth minute and Basso sent the ball up and over St. Lucy’s goalkeeper Victoria Perez to spur Flintridge Sacred Heart to a 1-0 victory.
Basso sneaked in front of the St. Lucy’s defense just as Saldivar struck the ball and found herself on the other end of the kick with little resistance.
“I had a coach who said, ‘If you’re on the field and don’t want the ball why are you playing?’ If you’re on me, I will slip by and I don’t stop running,” Basso said.
The goal seemed to inspire the Tologs (4-1), who picked up the attacking intensity after jumping ahead, clearly not content to sit on the 1-0 lead, even late in the second half.
Flintridge continued to push the ball up through the midfield and into the attacking zone, putting pressure on the St. Lucy’s backline and making it difficult for the Regents to find an equalizer.
“I wasn’t surprised,” said St. Lucy’s midfielder Holly Abdelkader. “They’re a great team and they were able to find the through balls. It was hard to defend them and carry the ball on the same possession to go to goal for us.”
The Tologs racked up 10 shots to seven for St. Lucy’s (4-4).
And while the Tologs may lack experience in terms of overall age, the aggressiveness that they played with on Saturday afternoon proved that in terms of soccer IQ, they’re playing just fine.
“I think it helps,” Basso said. “We work really well together and we trust each other. We’re the underdog team. Every time out we have something to prove.”
Of course, that aggressiveness came with a price, as Flintridge Sacred Heart racked up 18 fouls and St. Lucy’s 14, with a combined seven yellow cards in the match, including cards to coaches on both benches.
Flintridge Sacred Heart goalkeeper Dani Garcia had a relatively quiet day, making two saves on the afternoon, while St. Lucy’s Perez made three.
It was the Tologs’ fourth shutout of the season.