Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy girls' soccer take down rival Harvard Westlake
Soccer: Seniors lead Tologs to 3-2 win, back into first-place hunt.
FSHA's Hailey James, top center, embraces Savannah Viola after scoring in a 3-2 Mission League win over Harvard Westlake. (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff Photographer / February 1, 2013)
But it was the resiliency displayed by the Tologs that carried them to their biggest victory of the season.
Led by a goal and an assist each from Savannah Viola and Hailey James and a game-winning score from Sarah Teegarden, the Tologs upended archrival Harvard-Westlake, 3-2, at St. Francis High to stay in the hunt for a league crown.
“It was the biggest win ... It’s a great feeling,” said Viola, who scored in the fourth minute and assisted James on a go-ahead goal later in a wild first half. “The whole game was an emotional roller coaster.
“And you know what, we pulled through.”
Already amped at the notion of avenging a 3-0 loss to the Wolverines (15-2-3, 7-1-1) earlier in the season, the Tologs (14-1-3, 6-1-1) were further motivated by their chase for a league title, the atmosphere of senior night and the absence of longtime coach Frank Pace, who’s ill and has missed both of the team’s games this week.
“The girls were pumped,” Tologs Coach Cesar Hidalgo said. “They knew this was one of the games they had to win and they came out and did it.
“I give them all the credit.”
Sacred Heart never trailed, taking leads of 1-0 and 2-1, before Harvard-Westlake tied the match on two occasions before Teegarden produced the game-winner to avenge the Tologs’ lopsided loss on Jan. 14.
“It was personal again. It was a personal game,” Viola said. “The minute they scored, we knew we had to come back with something big.”
Perhaps overlooked by the offensive fireworks was a staunch defensive effort by the Tologs, keyed by Kayla Mills, Lauren Savo, Miranda Saldivar and Claire Kostelnik.
Both of Harvard-Westlake’s goals came on set pieces — a free kick and corner kick — by Quinn Frankel. But for the most part, the Tologs prevented the Wolverines from moving into their attacking third, which was exploited by Harvard-Westlake in its previous 3-0 win.
“We knew this team is a good aggressive team and if we give them any space they’ll take advantage of it,” Hidalgo said. “We came back and corrected what we did wrong [in the first game].”
The Tologs won the shot battle, 19-7, but most impressively, Sacred Heart fired off the first 10 shots of the second half, with Harvard-Westlake held to just one — which came in harmless fashion in the 70th minute and bounced easily to Tologs goalie Dani Garcia for her fourth and final save of the match.
“We made sure they didn’t get into our attacking third because we learned from our mistakes,” Viola said.
Just as crucial on both sides of the ball was the Tologs controlling possession and the run of play.
“We knew last time we let them play their game,” Teegarden said. “We had to play possession and play our game.”
And the Tologs wasted no time doing just that.
James dribbled down the right side of the field before crossing left to a centered Viola, who one-timed a shot off her foot in mid-air for a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute.