Courtesy of Pasadena Poly
By Keith Lair, Staff Writer
PASADENA – Somehow, Pasadena Poly’s Noel Askins found the outcome of Wednesday afternoon’s Prep League soccer showdown against visiting Flintridge Prep at the tip of her feet, the game’s minutes counting down, the sun long gone and darkness quickly setting in.
Askins slipped by defender Chelsea Johnson and took a pass from Sarah Mendenhall. She rushed toward the goal with Rebels goalkeeper Casey Cousineau charging at her. She took the only shot she could get off about 8 yards in front of the goal.
The shot immediately deflected off Cousineau’s right leg and began veering with a reverse lopsided spin toward the left goalpost.
“At first I had no idea where it would be,” Atkins said of her shot. “I looked up and saw that it was going toward the goal. I don’t remember breathing.”
By then the ball had loped across the goal line and Poly had a 3-2 victory.
“I just had to get there and had to score,” she said. “I was going at it with all I have and Casey was coming at it with all she’s got.”
A game that was extremely physical, with three yellow cards, resembled a Prep-Poly basketball game with the Rebels crazies wildly cheering for their team, and had a playoff-like atmosphere.
Poly (12-1) rallied from a 2-1 deficit with a pair of goals in the game’s final seven minutes.
“I was hoping to find Noel there,” Mendenhall said. “It was like in slow motion. The whole atmosphere was crazy.”
Mendenhallscored her second goal of the game with seven minutes to play to tie the game. Poly took advantage of its ninth corner kick of the game. Mendenhall sent the ball inside, but it was knocked out.
Katie Wardlaw took an outside shot that was quickly blocked by the defense. It bounded inside to Becca Hanel, whose shot also met the Rebels’ defense. But the ball popped outside to Mendenhall, who had a clear look. She easily got it by Cousineau.
“We haven’t been tested a lot this year,” Poly coach Pat Gray said. “They put us under a tremendous amount of pressure. We were in a position we hadn’t been in before and we took a dip and then found ourselves again.”
Kaelin King gave Prep the 2-1 lead 22 minutes into the half.