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La Cañada High girls' soccer takes match late versus Flintridge Prep

Soccer: Senior Brianna Albarian scores 77th-minute goal in netting Spartans' 1-0 nonleague victory.

January 07, 2014|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com

LA CAÑADA — For 76 minutes, all that was missing from the La Cañada High girls’ soccer team’s dominating effort versus host and crosstown rival Flintridge Prep was a score.

Spartans senior Brianna Albarian broke a stalemate with a bouncing 30-yard goal in the 77th minute that served as the match-winner in a 1-0 victory Tuesday afternoon.

“It was a hustle goal, but we had several opportunities to score and we didn’t,” Spartans Coach Louie Bilowitz said. “The problem is that this is a very little field. If you look at the regulations for the field, this is what’s recommended for the [junior varsity]. We certainly had our issues.”

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The Spartans (8-0), who entered the week ranked sixth in Division III of the CIF Southern Section, outshot the Rebels (4-3-3) by a 26-8 margin, but did not secure the triumph until the last of those shots.

Albarian took possession of a loose ball around midfield and drove into Rebels territory with defenders peeling off rather than confronting the streaking striker.

When Albarian was finally confronted about 30 yards from goal, the senior ripped a shot that flew over the outstretched arms of leaping Flintridge Prep goalie Lauren Stiles and off the crossbar directly down.

The ball hit the ground and bounced backward into goal for the lone score of the match.

“I just dribbled up and it was pretty clear. No one was open so I just decided to go for it and shoot it. I wasn’t really looking to score although I thought that would be cool,” Albarian said. “And then it just miraculously went in.”

Prior to Albarian’s score, it appeared the Spartans were jinxed.

Spartans center defender Olivia Leyva peppered a shot past Stiles in the 71st minute on an attempt created off a corner kick from Albarian. Yet, Leyva’s shot hit off the stomach of Rebels freshman forward Maia Cohen, who was positioned on the right post, and bounced out play.

A minute earlier, the Spartans fired two shots, the first from Olivia Juse and the second from Megan Decker that both required saves from Stiles.

Perhaps the best attempt all match took place in the 59th minute when a corner kick from Rosie Quezada bounced between two defenders to Juse, who chipped a 10-yard shot that was knocked out of play on a spectacular diving stop from Stiles, who finished with 14 saves.

The corner kick was one of nine taken by the Spartans in comparison to none for the Rebels.

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