The South Pas High varsity girls soccer team started the season strong Tuesday, defeating visiting Pasadena Polytechnic 1-0 on a goal with minutes left in the game.
Senior midfielder Chloe Kim received a pass from senior forward Corey Segal and took a shot from about 24 yards out and hit the back of the net in the 78th minute to give her team the win.
New head coach Francisco Lopez earned his first win at South Pas and said he didn’t really think about it initially.
“I’m so caught up into, ‘We won — OK, what’s next’ and start planning it out, and sometimes I have to take a step back and reflect on these moments. It was exciting,” Lopez said.
“I’m still kind of settling in with the group, and I was really excited about the level of energy that they brought on, and that’s truly exciting for me. One thing I always tell the girls is if we bring grit and we can grind it out with these teams, and defensively we’re solid, we’re always going to be in the game.”
The game was being played at a high intensity, and both teams were ready to get the season under way.
Poly played a solid defensive game, and though South Pasadena had some chances, the Tigers weren’t able to get one through until the end.
Lopez looked forward to facing Poly because it was good competition — ranked in the Top 10 for Division 4 to start the season. He wanted to see how his team measured up with the Panthers.
He said his team played with discipline, but there’s still things to work on.
“I was happy with the result, but there’s a lot more we have to work on in regards to our organization in the midfield and the way we’re attacking,” he said. “We’re just focusing on developing our game. After our games, we do film review so we can reflect on what we did good and the areas that we need to improve.”
He had two captains playing in the game — Kim and Segal — while his third captain, senior midfielder Jessica Lat, was out with a sprained ankle.
He liked the way they both played this game.
“Corey [Segal], in the first half and even in the second half, she was dangerous,” he said. “She found ways to get behind the defense, she was stretching that line — really putting them on their heels, and Chloe [Kim] was great at collecting balls in that midfield.”
The Tigers had 11 shots on goals. They had three quality strikes, and one of them in the first half almost went in, but the Poly goalkeeper was able to hit it away.
South Pasadena’s biggest test of the season will likely be this Saturday in their game against Oaks Christian in the Westlake High Soccer Showcase. They are a Division I powerhouse.
“That will be a very good test for us,” Lopez said. “I’m looking forward to see how we match up. What I’m looking for from my team is if we can grind it out against them. They’re a physical team — see if we can match up and really defensively, see how we can put what we’ve learned in practice against a really good team.”
The game will be at Westlake High at 5:15 p.m.