GLENDALE — Outplayed for one half and abandoned before a previous match, it appeared Friday afternoon was going to be a long day for the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy girls’ soccer team.
Yet, for all the issues facing the host Tologs, they responded with grit to a halftime deficit versus La Salle in pool play action of the Los Tacos Holiday Festival.
The Tologs outscored the Lancers by two goals in the second half of their match, which ended in a 3-2 Flintridge Sacred Heart victory at the Glendale Sports Complex.
The triumph coupled with a forfeit by Pasadena High earlier in the morning thrusts Flintridge Sacred Heart (6-1) into Saturday morning’s pool play finale versus West Ranch at 11:30 a.m. with an opportunity to advance to the tournament championship at 3:45 p.m.
“I think the forfeit was an advantage and disadvantage for us because we were rested, but we came out a little too lax and a little too confident. We thought La Salle was going to be tired since they played earlier in the day, but they outplayed us and we’re lucky they only scored one goal,” Tologs Coach Cesar Hidalgo said.
“Coming into the second half, we knew we had to make some changes, get some offense and thankfully it worked out for us.”
La Salle (3-3-2) owned the first 40 minutes of play in leading Flintridge Sacred Heart, 1-0, at the half after having outshot the Tologs, 13-6.
The Tologs, however, responded by taking the lead thanks to the 1-2 punch of senior forward Micaela Snashall and freshman striker Nia Harris.
Snashall equalized the match in the 44th minute when she scored on what was the third attempt at goal after a deep throw-in had bounced inside the Lancers’ goal mouth.
Initially, Snashall had her first attempt punched out by Lancers goalie Sam Dier before a rebound attempt from Harris deflected off a defender right to Snashall, who flicked in a five-foot shot for the goal.
“The halftime talk was definitely a wake-up call, especially up top and in the back,” Snashall said. “We needed to pick it up and score some goals.”
Flintridge Sacred Heart then took its first lead nine minutes later when Snashall laced a through ball to a hard-charging Harris, who took possession about 30 yards from goal, dribbled for 15 more yards and then rocketed a goal into the lower right corner of the net for a score that gave the Tologs a 2-1 advantage.
“We just brought our intensity up and worked as a team. That was the difference,” Harris said. “My goal was on a bit of a breakaway and I was just able to get a shot under the reach of the goalie.”
The Tologs added needed insurance in the 71st minute when Casey Basso netted a 20-yard goal to push Flintridge Sacred Heart’s advantage to 3-1.
Basso’s score became invaluable six minutes later when La Salle junior forward India Hines scored the second of her two goals on the day from three feet out off a pass that clanked off the post.
With only three minutes remaining, the Tologs then held off a last blitz from La Salle, which just missed tying on a Hines chip shot in the 78th minute and on a 20-yard free kick that was wide by five feet in the 80th minute.
Hines initially put the Lancers on the board in the 18th minute when she connected on a 10-yard rebound goal off her own miss that ricocheted back to Hines off the post.
Flintridge Sacred Heart was able to withstand La Salle’s 17-11 advantage in shots, in part, because of the work of Tologs goalie Dani Garcia, who finished with eight saves.
“The most important thing was to not let the score get out of hand,” Hidalgo said. “As long as we stayed in this game, we knew we’d have a chance.”