Sports

Despite strong performance, Lady Heralds fall to Valley Christian

Whittier Christian's Amy Baray battles Valley Christian's Janna Jensen for possession during the first half of Whittier Christian's 1-0 loss, Friday afternoon at home.
Whittier Christian’s Amy Baray battles Valley Christian’s Janna Jensen for possession during the first half of Whittier Christian’s 1-0 loss, Friday afternoon at home.

Story and photos by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

It was a strong showing for the Whittier Christian girls’ soccer team Friday afternoon against the Valley Christian Lady Crusaders.

However, against the 2nd ranked team in the league, the Lady Heralds’ defense faltered once and the Lady Crusaders took advantage with a breakaway goal in a 1-0 victory.

Holding the Lady Crusaders scoreless at halftime, the Lady Heralds battled as long as they could before they surrendered their only goal in the 70th minute.

The Lady Heralds turned in an inspired performance led by senior Klarissa Flores who was on top of her game.

“She was on fire today, she was just not letting anything get by her today,” head coach Nicole Nicolaides said.

During the first half, Flores stopped everything in sight including two breakaways in the 25th and 30th minutes.

Flores has been watching film not only studying herself, but also the opponent.

“I try to improve from what I did wrong then, and judge the ball better and come out more,” Flores said, “I told my players to cut off their crosses so they wouldn’t get a head shot, and that’s how we were able to hold them so low.”

Flores knew the team had a chance at getting its first win today when she learned there would be a new player protecting Valley Christians’ goal.

“I heard their key keeper was dropped from the team … so maybe we can get a goal,” Flores said.

Lady Heralds' goalkeeper stands with Head Coach Nicole Nicolaides as she's honored during Senior Day after Whittier Christian's 1-0 loss to Valley Christian, Friday afternoon.
Lady Heralds’ goalkeeper Klarissa Flores stands with Head Coach Nicole Nicolaides as she’s honored during Senior Day after Whittier Christian’s 1-0 loss to Valley Christian, Friday afternoon.

This information, combined with a strong outing last time at Valley Christian (14-6-3, 5-1-0), gave her confidence they could pull out the victory.

Flores took it upon herself to make sure to prevent defensive breakdowns and keep her offense in the game.

“She’s just aggressive, she’s a hard working kid and she wants it, she wanted a win today, and she wanted to shut them out today,” Nicolaides said.

The Lady Heralds (0-16-3, 0-6-1) have implemented a new defensive scheme by dropping their sweeper and moving to a four player defensive line. It was clear their defensive efforts were successful, as they drew the Lady Crusaders offside on a consistent basis.

Nicolaides understood the difficulty ahead of her winless team, but was proud of how competitive her team played.

“I think we frustrated them today,” Nicolaides said.

The Lady Crusaders eventually scored when the Lady Heralds’ defense let a ball slip past their line, leaving Flores alone on a breakaway with Lady Crusader’s forward, Janae Megorden, who finished by slipping the ball under Flores’s outstreched arm into the back of the net.

The Lady Herald’s celebrated their seniors after the game in their final home game for the season. The Lady Heralds visit Edgewood in West Covina on Tuesday before returning to league action at Village Christian, Thursday afternoon.

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.