LA CAÑADA —– For 14 consecutive Prep League games, the Pasadena Poly girls’ soccer team left with a victory.
That changed Tuesday afternoon.
Keyed by two second-half goals, Flintridge Prep rallied to tie the Panthers, ranked No. 1 in the CIF Southern Section Division III poll, 2-2.
“We went at them,” Flintridge Prep Coach Esteban Chavez said, “and these girls did enough to come back.”
Trailing, 2-0, at halftime, the Rebels (11-4-5, 6-1-2) put themselves on the scoreboard in the 55th minute when senior midfielder Kaitlyn Liston found a loose ball that had deflected off a corner kick. From about 30 yards out, she floated a straightaway shot that sailed just over the reaching finger tips of Poly junior goalkeeper Julia Yun.
“When the ball came out, I happened to be the one with the opportunity to start that momentum, to get the ball in,” Liston said. “Once we had one, things kept rolling and we fought hard until the end.”
Not more than two minutes later sophomore forward Alexis Gordon also found the back of the net when she placed a shot just to the left of Yun, knotting the score at 2.
“We took a big risk,” Chavez said. “Nobody goes at this team. Everybody sits back and they play to just to lose 2-0, 3-0. We went at them and it shows. They scored two goals on us, but the mentality in the second half was still to go forward. And again, all it took was that one goal and I felt they panicked. ... We got momentum. It was a momentum changer.
“The defenders were flustered because of that one goal.”
Poly (20-1-1, 8-0-1), though having no shortage of chances in the second half, could never respond to the scoring barrage, stopped often by sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Stiles.
“Credit to Prep, they didn’t pack it in,” Poly Coach Pat Gray said. “They came kept hanging around and kept hanging around. “
Poly, which has wrapped up the league title, found success early on in the contest, as sophomore forward Noel Askins lined a shot into the back corner of the goal in the 13th minute. Junior Kayla Valencia followed up with another goal in the 24th minute.
The Rebels, relying on just three defenders in the back, continued to press on.
“We didn’t change anything,” Chavez said. “Everything stayed the same, which is super offensive and really risky against a team like this. But over two minutes, the girls were able to pull it out.”
Poly’s 14-game winning streak had spanned back to Jan. 14, 2013 — its last non-victory coming from its 3-3 tie at Flintridge Prep.
“We’ve always been head-to-head rivals,” Liston said. “They know that. We know that. I think they bring out the best in us and we bring out the best in them. It’s just how it’s always been. It’s more than just a game. It’s an emotional thing, too.
Flintridge Prep, which carries an eight-game unbeaten streak, resumes league play in its season finale on Friday when it hosts the Webb Schools at 3:15 p.m. Poly’s finale also comes Friday at Chadwick.