By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer
EAGLE ROCK – By the time the temperature dipped to a brisk 52 degrees, the Flintridge Sacred Heart soccer team’s offense had gone cold, too.
Throughout their key Mission League match with Chaminade, the Tologs aggressively created plenty of scoring opportunities while dominating the play up front.
But the inability to finish plays would come back to bite them, and a critical goalkeeper error doomed Flintridge Sacred Heart in a 1-0 loss on Thursday night at Occidental College.
Chaminade (15-2-3, 3-0-1) struggled through its offensive sets in the first half while Flintridge Sacred Heart (10-4-1, 3-2) found itself on the attack early and often. The Tologs, however, had nothing to show for it heading into a scorelesshalf.
The Eagles were a different team in the second half, and their push up front was rewarded.
Brittnay Solis won a loose ball and made the Tologs pay for it. The junior center midfielder squared up and took a blistering shot 30 yards out from an angle. The shot had such force that as Flintridge Sacred Heart keeper Lindsey Espe bent down to make the catch on a dipping ball, it slipped by and went through her legs and into the back of the net in the 46th minute.
“She put as much as she could into it,” Chaminade coach Mike Evans said. “To her credit, the ball had a swirl in it. It was going one direction and it dropped on the keeper. To be honest, as much as she might beat herself up over the ball it definitelyhad some swirl on it.
“If the ball’s straight on maybe the keeper is in front of it. It was just a fortunate rebound that came to us and (Solis) was able to settle it and put it on frame.”
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It’s the third 1-0 loss of the season for the Tologs, who also lost by the same score to Saugus and St. Lucy’s.
Flintridge Sacred Heart’s other league loss was against Harvard-Westlake, 2-0.
“We gave up a terrible goal on a terrible goalkeeper error,” Flintridge Sacred Heart co-head coach Frank Pace said. “That’s just the story of the game. We dominated the play of the game, but the only thing that matters is what’s on the scoreboard.”
Flintridge Sacred Heart had a goal called back in the 16th minute on an offsides. Kayla Mills raced down the wing before taking a shot attempt. The ricochet landed in front of Hanna Armendariz, who slipped the ball inside the right post.
The Tologs’ frantic attack in the waning minutes almost paid off, but Chaminade’s flooded backline worked its magic. Flintridge Sacred Heart’s Casey Basso put a well-placed corner kick into the teeth of the box. Sarah Teegarden connected on a header, but what looked like a sure goal was prevented when an alert Abbi Williams, who was standing guard inside the mouth of the goal, rebounded the ball out on a left-footed shot to keep the shutout intact.
“Every time we got the ball in scoring play they collapsed,” Pace said. “Did we have the ball in good places to score? Absolutely. But did they close down the space quick enough to keep us from scoring? They did that, too.”
Flintridge Sacred Heart, which opened the season as the top-ranked team in the nation according to ESPN, was missing five starters, including All-American Katie Johnson.
But that’s beyond the point, Pace said.
“Doesn’t matter,” he said. “We certainly could have won with the players we had on the field. We’re not those coaches to say if we only had this person or that person. We’re 13, 14, 15 players deep. We win as a team and we lose as a team. There’s no excuses.”