Hemet girls cruise to victory HEMET 4 LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE 0

Soccer team kicks it up a notch in the second half
BY MIRJAM SWANSON

STAFF WRITER mswanson@pe.com  

The Bulldogs waited until the second half to really get it going, using the first 40 minutes of the quarterfinal match at Hemet High to feel out the Spartans.

But no one on Hemet’s side stressed out, not even with a capable La Cañada Flintridge team (14-3-4) threatening Hemet’s slim 1-0 lead, built on an 11th -minute goal by midfielder Nola Prickett.

For one thing, that’s typical.

“I wouldn’t want to call us a second-half — yeah, OK, we’re a second-half team,” alert senior midfielder Kenzie Boyd said with a laugh. “Last game, it wasn’t good the first half at all, but we came out harder this time and then, by the second half, we get the feel of the team.”

For another thing, they trust one another — including the freshmen among them, such as Prickett — to figure it out.

“There are times when I maybe mess up and I look up to (senior) Rosie (Robinson) like, ‘Oh man, Rosie’s gonna be mad,’ “ said freshman forward Krista Haddock, who scored two left-footed goals in the second half to put away the match and bring her season total to 29, three more than Robinson. “But then Rosie’s just so supportive. I think that helps a lot. We’re free to play.”

That’s a purposeful part of the formula, said Robinson and Boyd, who remember well their semifinal loss to San Dimas last year.

“When me and Rosie were freshman, we were really intimidated by the seniors,” Boyd said. “And we promised each other, when we were captains and seniors that we wouldn’t scare the freshmen. So they’d feel comfortable, they wouldn’t be scared to make a mistake. They would know we’re a team.”

They’re a team that earned a top seed in the division and responded by winning two playoff matches by a combined score of 10-1.

On Friday, Robinson took control of a header from the 5-foot-2 Haddock and beat the Spartans’ keeper in the left corner of the net in the 57th minute to make it 2-0 and get the Bulldogs going.

Up next for Hemet (22-2-2), another home match: This one against South Pasadena, which defeated Baldwin Park Sierra Vista, 4-0.

“Oh my God, I’m so, so excited,” Robinson said. “I can’t even begin to explain, I don’t think I’ve ever wanted something this bad before, really.”
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