PASADENA — An eight-minute, three-goal scoring flurry from the La Salle High boys' soccer team not only banished the possibility of a scoreless tie, but also ended over 40 minutes of frustration for the Lancers as they defeated host Maranatha, 3-1, in Friday afternoon's intracity private-school rivalry match.
“Good soccer isn’t just about goals, but about creating scoring chances,” La Salle Coach Dan Sheridan said. “We were finally able to put away a few opportunities in the second half and that’s going to help us going forward.”
The pass found waiting teammate Matt McDonald, who buried a 12-yard shot far post past diving goalie Jensen Hutto (10 saves) that put La Salle up, 1-0.
“It was big to get that first goal, but we didn’t want to drag this out,” Sullivan said. “The longer the match stayed tied, the longer it would be a dogfight and we didn’t want that with Maranatha.”
Nearly two minutes later, the Lancers scored versus the Minutemen (2-7-2) again, this time when sophomore striker Austin Fajardo-Mathes cleaned up a blocked shot from teammate Briley Venti and scored from four yards out as La Salle led, 2-0.
The Lancers’ final blow came in the 48th minute when Sullivan knocked in a seven-yard shot off a corner kick from junior PJ Siberill to put La Salle up, 3-0.
“I thought we played a good first 40 minutes and good final 20 minutes of the match,” Maranatha Coach Evan Loomis said. “We basically lost in a five-to-10-minute span, which is disappointing. But overall, we played La Salle straight up for most of the game and we’ll build on that.”
Even though the 3-0 hole proved insurmountable, Maranatha continued to battle and scored its own goal in the 76th minute when sophomore Devin Robledo banged in a rebound goal off a shot on a free kick from Ethan Prins.
It seemed as if the post provided a 12th defender for Maranatha in the first half of a scoreless tie, as the Lancers missed on three solid point-blank looks through the first 40 minutes.
The first of such attempts came in the 15th minute when Lancers junior defender Robbie McAlister rerouted a clear-out attempt for a wide-open 15-yard shot from the center of the field that bounced off the inner left cross right to a thankful Hutto.
In the 39th minute, Venti sent a cross from 10 yards that seemed to dance on the crossbar before rolling out of play.
A minute later, freshman Gabe Rodriguez laced a shot from 10 yards that Hutto smartly trapped against the left post for a save.
The stop highlighted a few big saves from the Minutemen, including a big clear-out header from junior Franklin Brian on a cross between Nicola Vinski and Venti in the 34th minute.