By Keith Lair
SOUTH PASADENA – South Pasadena High School girls soccer coach Randy Lilavois amped up the Tigers’ schedule in anticipation of a defense of its Rio Hondo League title and a hoped-for second consecutive long run into the postseason.
But he will have to watch the outcome from afar.
Lilavois, who led the Tigers to the CIF-Southern Section Division 6 semifinals last year and coached the Pasadena City College women’s program to its first state playoff appearance in seven years last month, is leaving the South Pasadena program to take over at Grissom High in Huntsville, Ala.
He will remain the PCC coach.
“It’s really hard for me to leave, but family is more important,” he said.
Lilavois’ move is strictly family-related; for his family to be near other family members. The Grissom season is not until next spring.
His body might be 2,000 miles away, but Lilavois’ heart will be with a team he has coached for six years.
The Tigers are off to a 4-5 start, but have faced much stiffer competition than past seasons, including a 4-1 loss to nationally ranked Flintridge Sacred Heart on Thursday evening.
“We have started by struggling, but part of that is our schedule,” Lilavois said. “We’ve set up a much tougher schedule and it shows. The hope is when we get for (league), we’ll be ready.”
Longtime assistant coach Eva Dixon, who played on the 2003 Tigers championship team, will take over as coach next week after South Pasadena plays Wednesday against Flintridge Prep.
“It’s always a tough transition,” Dixon said. “I get to shadow him and he has helped me through this process.”
Jessica Moog, who had the lone goal against the Tologs on a penalty shot, expects nothing to change.
“We’ll miss Randy, of course,” the senior said. “There are a lot of juniors and and seniors on the team. We’ll be OK. We understand.”
On Thursday, Flintridge Sacred Heart defender Sarah Teegarden received an acceptance letter for her scholarship offer from Wake Forest and then scored two goals.
“My record on goals has not been the highest, so it definitely was a great feeling,” she said.
The Tologs (3-0) are ranked 17th nationally.
Teegarden scored on a header off a corner kick from Lauren Savo in the second half’s first minute and then scored on a 25-yard shot after South Pasadena tried clearing the ball for a 4-0 lead.
Sacred Heart outshot South Pasadena, 30-3. The Tigers’ lone shot in the second half was Moog’s goal. Lenja Suey’s free kick went into the goal area, bounced up and hit a Tologs player in the hand. Moog scored on a shot to the upper left corner 30 minutes into the second half
Savannah Viola played a part in the Tologs’ first two goals. She scored on a long shot after a pass from Savo nine minutes in and her throw-in went to Claire Kostelnik for the second goal.