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Spartans stifled in second half

Soccer: La Cañada girls season ends in 4-0 loss to Hemet in Division VI quarterfinals.

February 24, 2012|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

HEMET — When the halftime whistle sounded the La Can¿ada High girls' soccer team walked off the field feeling like it had outplayed top-seeded Hemet on the road despite a one-goal deficit.

All those good feelings washed away in the second half, as the Bulldogs applied a world of pressure on the Spartans defense that resulted in three goals and a 4-0 victory Friday in the CIF Southern Section Division VI quarterfinals.

"We definitely put some effort into the game and the girls were psyched," said La Can¿ada assistant Anya Rosen of her team's first-half performance. "It's a tough loss, but Hemet's a really good team and we tried our best. The girls have a lot of heart."

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La Can¿ada (13-3-4) play without its Coach Louie Bilowitz, who was dealing with flu-like symptoms, for the second game in a row, something Rosen believed had an impact on the game.

"It's hard when something that is kind of like a steadfast rock changes," Rosen said. "It's hard to adapt to that. The girls did the best they could and they really wanted to win for him, but that didn't happen."

Hemet Coach Craig Dwinnell said his team pulled away in the second half because it was more decisive on the ball.

"They weren't really sure what they wanted to do with the ball [in the first half]," Dwinnell said. "I think we were more precise and determined [in the second]. They played a flat-back four, which we don't see that often, but I think we were able to figure it out finally."

Hemet (22-2-2) got on the board in the 10th minute when Nola Prickett scored off a corner kick. The corner found its way in the middle of La Can¿ada's box to Prickett, who attempted a side kick but her shot went straight out in front of her in the box.

The Spartans thought there was a handball on Prickett and paused for a call from the official, as Prickett ran up and struck the ball into the bottom right corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.

"It was an unlucky goal, we thought it was a handball," said La Can¿ada senior midfielder Talia Saleh.

La Can¿ada bounced back and got two good looks at goal before halftime.

The first came in the 20th minute on hard shot off a 30-yard free kick from Kara Lankey that was right to Bulldogs keeper Alexx Pachon.

The Spartans nearly tied the game in the 33rd minute on a corner of their own. Natalie Ragusa lofted the corner into Hemet's box to an unmarked Saleh, who headed the ball just a few feet in front of the goal, but Pachon just knocked it away.

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