Photos by Henk Friezer

The South Pasadena High School varsity girls soccer team battled longtime rival San Marino to a draw last Saturday at home in a Rio Hondo League opener that saw one of the Tigers’ key players exit the game with a concussion.

The Tigers drew first blood with a penalty kick by Uma Hornish that put them up 1-0 only to have San Marino tie the score with another penalty kick in the second half.

“We came out strong and we were able to score first off a penalty kick,” Coach Tory Lathrop said in an email to The Review. “A Titan defender fouled senior Jenna Noueihed, about 20 minutes into the half, as she was entering the 18-yard box and the referee awarded us a penalty kick which Uma Hornish confidently converted to give us the lead.”

But then injury struck the Tigers when Jade Myer, a senior defender, attempted to clear the ball on a Titan corner kick by using her head and “immediately went down injured.”

Lathrop said Myer was removed for the rest of the game.

With Myer out of the game with a concussion and other players battling lingering injuries, the Tigers had to adjust in the second half.

The Titans started pushing the ball aggressively with success and earned a penalty on So Pas.

“We had to make more adjustments to our lineup due to Jade’s absence and other lingering injures,” Lathrop said. “We started to concede more space in the midfield and our defensive end as the Titans pushed for a goal to equalize. We unfortunately gave up a foul in our own 18-yard box and the referee awarded the Titians a penalty kick but senior goalkeeper Noemi Howland came up with a huge save to maintain our lead.”

Regrettably, that lead was not going to last because the Tigers fouled again.

“However, we really struggled to find our rhythm as a group and push out of our defensive end,” the coach said. The Titans earned their second penalty when South Pasadena was called for a hand ball in the penalty box. This time, San Marino converted.

So Pas had to play the remainder of the game without its full complement of 11 players but still had a chance to grab victory near the end.

“We then had to play the remaining 25 minutes without a full 11 players,” Lathrop said. “We did have a chance to win in the final moments, senior Uma Hornish and the Titan goal keeper both attempted to win a 50/50 ball out around the 25-yard line. Uma won the tackle as the ball ricocheted back towards the Titan goal, Uma took a hard shot and the ball just missed the goal post and passed the end line.” 

Lathrop took a philosophical approach to the tie game, saying she was hoping for a better result but she’d take this as a game on which to build.

“For a team that ended up playing with 10 players and faced several injuries, I’m glad we got the tie,” Lathrop said. “It’s not how I envisioned starting league but I expected San Marino to be competitive as they hadn’t lost a match in preseason. I’m proud of Uma Hornish for stepping up to convert our penalty kick and again, Noemi Howland did a great job keeping the Titans at bay. Emma Barrera had a great match and led our defense well. We’ll review our match footage, do our homework over the weekend and come to training ready to prepare for our next match against Temple City.” Their preparation proved useful because the Tigers prevailed against Temple City Tuesday, 2-1. Their next game was scheduled against La Canada Thursday.

The Tigers are 1-0-1 in League play coming off a 7-2 preseason.

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Steve Whitmore is the editor for the South Pasadena Review. Steve has spent more than four decades as an award-winning print and broadcast journalist with a 16-year stint as the senior media advisor for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Steve comes to us from the Keene Sentinel in Keene, New Hampshire, where he covered politics and was a columnist.

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