Shorthanded Heralds drop season opener
Playing without two senior starters, the Whittier Christian girls’ soccer team fell to Hacienda Heights Wilson 4-0 in its season opener, Thursday afternoon at Whittier Christian High.
Due to injuries and ineligible players, the Lady Heralds played the entire match without the luxury of substitutions.
Two crucial members out were midfielder Sophie Basalone due to injury and sweeper Meghan Buchanan, who is still playing with the volleyball team in the CIF State Regional playoffs.
While Whittier Christian’s mindset was frenzied in the first half, fatigue played a factor late as the Ladycats scored three of their four goals in the second half.
“They scored their first goal early on and that frazzled us,” said Nicole Nicolaides, Whittier Christian head coach. “We came out really scattered and we couldn’t settle down. I don’t think we found our rhythm in this game.”
Wilson jumped ahead immediately, scoring in the 2nd minute when Cristina Flores scored on a cross pass by Caitlin Greenup.
Both teams had opportunities in the first half, but neither converted and the Ladycats took a 1-0 lead into halftime.
“We got into a kicking game with them because we panicked, they played a little quicker than us,” Nicolaides said. “I know we’re better than that, we just had some players moving around in different spots, playing positions they aren’t necessarily used to playing.”
Replicating the first half, Wilson doubled the lead two minutes into the second half as Anitza Jimenez put the ball in net, which was also set up by Greenup.
Whittier Christian had a scoring opportunity in the 60th minute, but a shot from the right side sailed wide. Greenup scored two minutes later for the Ladycats.
In the 71st minute, Wilson’s Jasmine Alvarado took possession on a breakaway and lofted a shot over goalkeeper Klarissa Flores, who came out to contend the shot.
Flores finished with seven saves.
The Lady Heralds had one final shot with a free kick in the 78th minute, but the ball narrowly cleared the crossbar.
“We had to move some players around because of some others that we were missing today,” Nicolaides said. “But they didn’t complain about it, they stepped up and did what they needed to do, but it was tough for them to be in that position.”