The South Pasadena High School varsity boys and girls soccer programs ended the preseason on a positive note with the girls nearly winning one of the most difficult tournaments in the area and the boys going undefeated with one tie.
The girls soccer program made it into the second weekend of the Best of the West Tournament hosted by Newport Harbor High School. They whipped La Habra High School in the semi-finals only to fall short in the finals against Marlborough High School, taking second place overall for the tournament.
The girls now will face longtime rival San Marino High School at home in the Rio Hondo League opener on Saturday, Jan. 5, at 3:30 p.m.
The semi-finals match-up was close for the first half, in which both teams battled to a 0-0 tie, but the Tigers blew it open in the second half scoring three unanswered goals, winning 3-0. Noemi Howland was credited with four saves and the shut out. Uma Hornish scored two goals while Emma Barrera scored the other. The final was a squeaker with Marlborough pulling out a 2-1 win. Howland was credited with 9 saves in the final and Barrera scored off a direct kick.
Head Coach Tory Lathrop said the tournament was a good test for the squad because it pitched them against tough competition, something she advocates.
“The better the competition, the better we get,” Lathrop has repeatedly said. “This tournament is good for us.”
Meanwhile, the varsity boys finished the preseason with another victory, handing Bassett High School a convincing loss, 3-0. The boys squad allowed only one goal throughout the preseason, going 7-0-1. The tie was against Schurr High School out of Montebello.
“We are doing very well,” David Garcia, boys varsity assistant coach, said near the end of the Bassett match. “We are playing excellent soccer right now.”
Although playing excellent soccer, Garcia acknowledged they can still and must get better.
“We have to keep working at finishing the game,” he said. “We need to see the games through to the end. We need to keep the pressure on the other teams. We have to face San Marino, La Cañada – they are tough teams. But we are playing excellent soccer.”
The boys open the league play against Temple City at Temple City High School on Jan. 8. at 3:30 p.m.