LA CAÑADA — Having Tim Bates on board to make a pinpoint pass has translated into plenty of success throughout the season for the Flintridge Prep boys’ soccer team.
Bates, a junior midfielder, has displayed a canny ability to distribute the ball upfield to his forwards to generate quality scoring opportunities.
Bates provided another demonstration Thursday, as he finished with two assists to help host Flintridge Prep post a 2-0 nonleague victory against Milken Community.
Flintridge Prep recorded its ninth shutout of the season to improve to 10-3-2. The Rebels are 4-0-2 in their last six matches.
“He’s just a very relaxed and poised player who can anticipate making a play very well,” Flintridge Prep Coach AJ Yates said. “He can see the field so well and he makes a lot of passes that a lot of players have trouble doing.
“He trusts his teammates and they trust him.”
Having reached the midway point of Prep League competition Wednesday following a 2-2 road tie against Chadwick, Flintridge Prep received a stiff test from Milken Community (3-1-2).
Flintridge Prep sophomore goalkeeper Hamilton Evans finished with seven saves, including six in the first half.
Evans made a nice save in the sixth minute when he stopped Brandon Yeshoua inside the box. The save seemed to ignite the Rebels, who completed their final exams Wednesday.
Several minutes after Evans’ save, Bates made a nifty pass near midfield to Ari Baranian, who beat Milken Community goalkeeper Robert Gassman (nine saves) on a partial breakaway to make it 1-0.
“I actually thought for a second that we might have been offside,” said Bates, who leads the team with nine assists. “It’s just about being able to go out there and know how to distribute the ball.
“I’ve watched a lot of professional soccer and I play club, so you are always learning.”
The Wildcats nearly tied it in the 36th minute when a shot by Yeshoua struck the crossbar before he headed the ball just over the net.
Flintridge Prep and Milken Community swapped a couple of good scoring chances early in the second half before the Rebels, ranked tied for 10th in the latest CIF Southern Section Division VI poll, added an insurance goal.
The Rebels, who finished second in league and participated in the playoffs last season, closed out the scoring when Henry Griffith tapped in a corner kick by Bates in the 51st minute.
Yates said the Rebels have progressed throughout the season and enter the second half of league prepared to challenge for a title.
“I like where we are at,” Yates said. “We haven’t lost in our last six games.
“We have four leagues games left, so there’s the potential to get more points.”
Flintridge Prep will next compete in a league match at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday against Rio Hondo Prep at the Glendale Sports Complex. The Rebels notched a 7-1 win in the first matchup on Jan. 10.