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La Cañada High boys' soccer team handed lopsided loss by South Pasadena

Soccer: Spartans stunned early, never recover in humbling 7-1 road defeat to Tigers.

January 31, 2014|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

SOUTH PASADENA — It was a disastrous start that led to an ugly conclusion.

Set for a Rio Hondo League showdown with rival South Pasadena High with both teams jockeying for positioning atop the Rio Hondo League, La Cañada High looked nothing like a team that was unbeaten in its last six games.

Instead, the Spartans were on the wrong end of one of the worst scores in recent memory for the program, falling to the host Tigers, 7-1, on Friday afternoon.

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“Worst game in three years,” said La Cañada Coach Alex Harrison, who in his three seasons at the helm had never had a team relinquish seven goals until Friday. “You could see we were frustrated. We got mad at each other and it fell apart.”

In the teams’ first meeting, La Cañada (10-3-5, 3-1-2 in league) opened league play with a 2-1 win over South Pasadena (11-2-1, 4-2), but the Tigers wasted little time in presenting evidence that it would be a far difference case this time around, scoring twice in the first eight minutes and four times in the first half.

The loss was even more damaging considering both teams were trailing first-place Monrovia, which hosts the Spartans Wednesday, in the standings.

After a Zack Dunn laser of a shot was saved by Spartans goalie Graham Labran-Boyd (seven saves), the rebound was booted in by Ramon Gutierrez for a 1-0 South Pas lead in just the third minute.

The Spartans looked shell-shocked, as the Tigers were faster to the ball, making runs left and right and maintaining possession in the attacking third.

In the eighth minute, Clam Witherall scored off a corner kick by Dunn, who finished with two goals and three assists, while Heven Gomez had a hat trick for the Tigers.

Despite their shortcomings, the Spartans had a brief window to play back in the game when freshman Jack Meeker sent a pinpoint pass up the middle to a streaking Keivan Meshkat. The senior moved onto the left wing with a defender on his hip and shot right for a score in the 23rd minute.

But having cut the score to 2-1, any Spartans momentum was quickly expunged when Dunn dribbled from left to right against the face of the Spartans defense, curved around his mark and sent a low shot into the far post outside the reach of Labran-Boyd for a 3-1 score in the 24th minute.

“They took that momentum,” Harrison said.

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