Photos by Joseph Ruiz.
The South Pasadena High School Varsity Girls Soccer team Friday will play for the program’s first CIF championship in nearly 15 years. The Tigers will face Westminster in a neutral site, 5 p.m. kickoff at Warren High School in Downey.
South Pas knocked off Los Amigos High 4-0 Tuesday night in the Division V Southern Section semifinal at Garden Grove High School. Junior Uma Hornish opened the scoring for the Tigers in the 22nd minute after she beat the defense to a through ball up the center of the field and slid it past the goalkeeper.
Part of South Pasadena’s offensive strategy, Hornish said, calls for the team’s attackers to hug the offside line and look for passes from the midfield or backline to find their way past the opponent’s defense. “From there, as long as we can find our way to the middle of the field,” she said, “we’ll be fine.”
The Tigers caught the Lobos’ backline on their heels a few times in the first half but were unable to convert to widen their advantage, entering halftime with a 1-0 lead.
Senior Emily Dunn doubled the Tigers’ lead roughly ten minutes into the second half when, from the 35-yard-line, she struck a ball over the goalie’s head and into the back of the net. Minutes later, junior Rainey Tilley found herself unmarked, at the front of a pack of Tigers. She didn’t waste the opportunity, nudging a header past the goalkeeper to put South Pas up 3-0.
Hornish wrapped up South Pasadena’s scoring with a low, hard strike for the brace.
Second year head coach Victoria Lathrop was proud of her team’s offensive effort, saying afterward, “I don’t know any other team that puts up four goals in a semifinal match.”
Lathrop knew heading into the semifinal the Tigers would need to stop Los Amigos’ leading scorer, Vidalia Abarca. Abarca was statistically dominant this season, amassing 54 goals on the year. But the Tigers were intent to extend their shutout streak that dates back to Jan. 10. “For us it was about shutting Abarca down, controlling the midfield and feeding our forwards,” Lathrop said, “and we did that tonight.”
Westminster enters Friday’s championship match at 23-3-3. Their leading scorers are Vanessa Campos and Sarah Ralston, numbers 23 and 10 respectively.