The Flintridge Prep varsity girls’ soccer players weren’t themselves for the first 40 minutes of the CIF Southern Section Division 3 championship at Downey Warren last Saturday.
“Obviously,” said Flintridge Prep junior Helen Schaefer. “Just look at the environment. There were nerves on our side, but we got over it.”
It truly was a tale of two halves for the Rebels as they shed any championship jitters in the final 40 minutes and scored two goals to defeat No. 1-seeded Pacifica Garden Grove, 3-1. Head coach Esteban Chavez delivered the program’s first CIF-SS plaque in the school’s 85-year history
“It’s not about me,” Chavez said. “I didn’t want this group to get this close and not get it done.”
Freshman Makenna Dominguez certainly got it done for Flintridge Prep (24-4-2 overall record) with an assist and two goals in the second half.
“The first half, we were really nervous [because] it was our first time here,” Dominguez said. “All of our first touches were getting away from us. Once the second half hit, all the nerves were gone and coach Chavez really pumped us up, and we went in there and gave it everything we got.”
Dominguez had one of the finest touches in the match with a perfect 35-yard pass to Schaefer, who found herself in a one-on-one situation against Pacifica’s goalkeeper.
“Of course I was a bit nervous [during the play], but what threw me off was the keeper hesitating,” Schaefer said. “So I thought, Ok, I’ll just do what I have to do.”
The junior standout slipped the ball past the goalie to tie the match, 1-1, in the 33rd minute.
The goal was a wake-up call for Flintridge Prep, and the No. 3 seed managed to carry over that momentum into the second half.
“When we get scored on, we’re calm and collective,” Schaefer said. “We know what has to be done and don’t freak out. We scored and that’s when it just clicked.”
Flintridge Prep didn’t take long in capturing the lead. A big kick from Arielle Guzman got through the defense and right at the feet of Dominguez, who flicked the bouncing ball to the right side of goal and into the back of the net to give the Rebels a 2-1 advantage in the 48th minute.
The goal came right after a scoring opportunity from Pacifica. Abby Chavez shot a loose ball in the box but was denied by Prep goalkeeper Lindsey Uteda.
“She’s been like that for us since she was a freshman,” Chavez said of his goalkeeper. “For her, this means a lot. She’s always made it a point that this was her biggest goal. She told me today that she was going to do everything possible in her power to make a difference for our team, and she did.”
Dominguez capped the scoring in the 73rd minute by putting away a bouncing ball in the box.
The Mariners (21-4-3 overall) got on the board in the 29th minute when substitute Keyla Fregoso received the ball in Rebels territory and laced a perfect through pass between two defenders for Alexa Riddle, who didn’t waste the opportunity and scored to give Pacifica a temporary lead.
The Flintridge Prep varsity girls’ soccer team resumed play on Tuesday and clobbered visiting Narbonne of Harbor City, 14-1, in the first round of the CIF State Southern California Regional.
Helen Schaefer scored seven goals and recorded three assists in the lopsided victory, and Makenna Dominguez added two scores. Mikaela Celeste scored and assisted three goals, Julia Gonzalez also scored and recorded four assists, Caitlin Fong finished with two assists, Ella Treinen and Sabine Fregoso each scored one goal, and Natalie Brown and Molly Scott each recorded an assist.
The No. 1-seeded Rebels will host Corona Centennial in a semifinal match at the Glendale Sports Complex today at 3 p.m.