Above: Glendora’s Aissa Sanchez after scoring game winner against South HIlls.
Forwards know they’re going to fail more often than finish, but the feisty ones never stop working, which was the case with Glendora High School’s Aissa Sanchez.
The payout finally came in the 63rd minute on a long pass into the penalty area from Jessica Smetherman. Instead of trying to settle the pass with a defender at her back, Sanchez flipped the ball past the defender with the outside of her foot, then did a 360 to free herself, finishing at the near post for the lone goal and a 1-0 victory over visiting South Hills on Tuesday in a nonleague girls soccer match. Also La Habra knocks off Los Altos, 1-0.
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Glendora, the second-ranked team in the Tribune, improved to 11-3-2. South Hills dropped to 7-5-1.
“She worked real hard to get that goal,” Tartans first-year coach Shane Bangle said. “There was a lot of effort there. She’s a girl who tries and tries and tries until something happens. That’s why she gets goals like that. Sometimes it just takes effort.”
South Hills looked strong early, but had trouble creating dangerous opportunities in the final third.
The Huskies hoped to free junior forward Natalie Maxey, but Tartans defenders Maddy Ealba, Amanda Jessie and Lauren Lagace did a good job combining to close her down, forcing her to send passes wide instead of using her physical abilities to beat them up the middle.
“We knew that she was a good player,” Bangle said. “She’s kind of rare because she’s physically strong and good with the ball at her feet. We wanted to keep the pressure on her and not let her be too creative and WE did a good job of it.”
For the most part, however, the Tartans controlled the run of play, had most of the chances, and dominated the middle of the field behind midfielder Emily Wood.
“She’s our field general,” Bangle said. “She dictates play. We always want to find our way through her. Her soccer IQ is off the charts. She sees the game develop. The true connoisseur knows what an amazing player she is.”
Although South Hills coach Scott Mocabee has one of the best Huskies teams he’s had in years, he realizes the Tartans have something special, too.
“There were segments in the game where they knocked it around on us pretty well, especially in the second half,” Mocabee said. “I told my team in the 12 years that I’ve coached here, that’s the best Glendora team I’ve seen.”