BY MIRJAM SWANSON For a short video, click here
The Bulldogs, top-ranked in CIF-SS Division 6 and envisioning another deep postseason run, defeated the visiting Hawks, 3-0.
But Hemet — which had won its previous two matches by combined scores of 15-0 — didn’t sprint past this Mountain Pass League foe. Citrus Hill (6-9-2, 3-4 in league) stayed well within striking distance until Hemet scored twice in the final four minutes.
“It’ll get us ready for playoffs, actually,” Hemet’s senior captain Rosie Robinson said. “We have a big role to play. Being ranked No. 1 in CIF, we’re going to see good teams; this is what we need.”
The Bulldogs (17-2-2, 7-0) scored first in the seventh minute on an astutely played header by freshman Nola Prickett off a pass from Tristan Self.
In between, the Hawks’ defense — Melissa Delgado, Lillian Aguilar, Maira Yanez and Stephanie Cervantes — broke up wave after wave of Hemet attacks. They dutifully disrupted the Bulldogs’ passing game and, on a couple of occasions, got help from the crossbar and left goalpost for stops.
“My whole defensive line are seniors,” Hawks coach Andrea McAndrews said. “I’ve been blessed with this line, and they did what I asked them to do today. My girls played tough.”
“It was a rough game,” Hemet coach Craig Dwinnell concurred. “We weren’t connecting. We were a yard off either way, but we were still doing the right thing, so we’ll work on it.”
With four minutes left, the reliably aggressive Robinson drew a foul inside the box — just before she and Yanez drew yellow cards for getting a bit mixed up after the play — to set up a penalty kick. It was Prickett, in her pink headband, who delivered with her 18th goal of the year.
Two minutes later, freshman midfielder Bailie Boyd took the ball up the line and delivered a pass to yet another ninth-grader, starting forward Krista Haddock, who put away the match by knocking her 22 goal into the far corner of the net with her right foot.