SOUTH PASADENA – It wasn’t supposed to end this way.
The emotions rising higher with each connected pass and the feeling of triumph ever so close with each push up front.
Seemingly – after riding a high wave of momentum in the second half – it would be only a matter of time until the South Pasadena High School girls soccer team scored the goal that eluded them in regulation time.
But the overtime period didn’t prove to be the Tigers’ moment either as they later watched North Torrance celebrate a 4-3 win on penalty kicks after a 1-1 tie in a wild-card match of the CIF-Southern Section Division V playoffs Tuesday afternoon.
Though South Pasadena (11-9-4) gave up a goal in the 10th minute, the Tigers were a determined bunch in the latter part of the first half.
Katie Burnett’s 10th-minute goal bounced inside the far post to give the Saxons (13-12-1) the early lead.
It was evident South Pasadena got into a groove in the second half. The Tigers dictated the pace through precise passing and effective counter attacks, led by freshman Taylor Colliau.
It was Colliau’s ability to anticipate her teammates’ every move up front, led by Aubrey Thurman, Stacy Lee, Catherine Messana and Tara Aalem.
Thurman’s ball header over a defender found its way back to her outside the 8-yard box. Much to her surprise, Thurman got off a shot that hit the top of the crossbar and into the goal line to tie the match, 1-1, in the 52nd minute.
“She’s the engine of our team,” South Pasadena coach Rudy Lilavois said. “It didn’t surprise me she got to the ball.”
From that moment on, the Tigers played with a sense of urgency. South Pasadena drew three offsides calls in the second half but had twice as many shots on goal off either headers that pushed the pace, outlet passes or well-placed crossers.
“It came down to we couldn’t score on our opportunities,” Lilavois said. “But our girls showed an incredible amount of effort.”
South Pasadena missed the first two penalty kicks but converted the final three while North Torrance converted the first, missed the second and scored the last three.
This was Tigers keeper Rohanna Blum’s first game back since breaking her nose three weeks ago in the final play of a 1-0 upset win over La Ca ada.
After allowing the final penalty kick that clinched the win for the Saxons, Blum slowly walked back to her teammates. They later embraced her.
After all, she gave it a valiant effort, and, after making key saves in the second half, had done just about all she could to keep the Tigers within striking distance.
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