The La Cañada High School varsity girls’ soccer team entered the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs with an identity, and a style of play understood by every Spartan.
“I can definitely say that about four games into league, we had to make a commitment to our defense and keep it strong,” said LCHS head coach Kevin Neumier. “Eventually, we’ll find one shot to put away. We’ve faced teams that attack, attack, attack and only come away with one or two goals. I wanted to be solid on defense and keep possession.”
That commitment has paid off for the Spartans as they edged visiting Cerritos Valley Christian, 1-0, in a second-round playoff match on Tuesday.
Charlotte Tapp fired a shot into the back of the net off a throw in from Sidney Hwang midway through the second quarter, which was enough to give La Cañada the victory and a ticket to its first quarterfinal match since 2014.
“It’s no surprise with the leadership we’ve got and them giving me everything they’ve got,” Neumeier said of his team’s 5-0-2 record the past seven matches. “If you work hard, good things will come to you. They’re just following the game plan.”
With three seniors on the backline and a talented goalkeeper in Ashley Messier, it’s a smart plan for the Spartans, who attack and defend as a team. Tapp, a midfielder, was the player to step up for La Cañada on Tuesday, and last week it was forward Chloe Kouyoumdjian, who scored the lone goal in a 1-0 first-round playoff victory over Temescal Canyon High of Lake Elsinore.
“That’s how it’s been for us, especially in the playoffs,” Neumeier said. “Our opponents have two to three players to look for, but with us, it’s hard to prepare because we have 11 good players capable of scoring. Who knows who is going to score for us? We had a defender nearly score for us. That’s what we’ve tried to instill in them.”
The Spartans (12-5-5 overall record) will host Ventura in a quarterfinal match this Friday, Feb. 23, at 5 p.m.
Flintridge Prep 3
Culver City 0
The Rebels shut out visiting Culver City, 3-0, in a CIF-SS Division 3 second-round playoff match on Tuesday.
Helen Schaefer led Flintridge Prep with a goal and an assist, and Julia Gonzalez and Mona Cesario each scored one goal. Freshman Makenna Dominguez recorded an assist and goalkeeper Lindsey Uteda preserved the shutout.
Prep (21-4-2 overall) opened the postseason with an 11-0 victory over Buena High of Ventura last week and will travel to Torrance to take on West in a quarterfinal match this Friday at 3 p.m.
Flintridge Sacred Heart 2
The Tologs squandered a two-goal lead and fell to visiting Valencia, 3-2, in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs last week at Occidental College.
Marissa Venneri scored both of Flintridge Sacred Heart’s goals before the Vikings rallied late in the match.
Flintridge Sacred Heart (10-4-5 overall record) won the Mission League crown for the first time since 2011.