Lancers women’s soccer defeated rival Mt. San Antonio College at home Friday, coming back re-energized in the second half to send the Mounties packing back to Walnut in a 2-1 win.
The Lancers were behind 1-0 in the first half in an intensely played game. The Mounties hit the turf running when their forward Jordan Snowden immediately took two shots on Lancer freshman goal keeper Monica Rogers two minutes into the game unsuccessfully.
Lancers forward Ani Hemelians answered back with an inside shot on goal that was blocked, but she continued to control the left-side, making the Mounties defense work with her speedy breakaways.
Tension increased as Snowden edged out the Lancers defense and took two more shots on goal, challenging Rogers, who made amazing saves. Mountie forward Janae Avila couldn’t even get a corner shot past Rogers.
Finally, Mounties forward Emily Colby knocked in a rebound goal after Snowden’s shot was tipped high and sideways by Rogers 17 minutes into the first-half, putting the Mounties ahead 1-0.
Lancers defenders Kelly Youseff and Juliana Gurule began putting pressure on the Mounties’ offense, frustrating them and forcing bad shots and incomplete passes.
The game quickened and became heavy in contact.
Hemelians still managed to penetrate the defense when she found herself with two defenders placed on her, outrunning them for long passes but unable to score.
The Mounties’ aggressive style of play was matched by their coach Melinda Bowen’s volatile sideline behavior and shouting. The Lancers, although equally assertive, played seemingly unfazed to the unfolding drama as Bowen argued with referee calls.
Lancers coach Reggie Rivas reminded his players to relax.
“What we try to do is have ice in our veins. We’re going to be okay. And have confidence. I always believe in them,” said Rivas.
The first half closed with an attempted goal by Lancers defender Michelle Morales and two more saves by Rogers when she slid out of her box to head-off shots on goal.
During the half-time break, Bowen interrupted the three referees to complain about their calls and accused the Lancers of pulling on the shirts of the Mounties. The referees had to ask that she go back to her post and challenge calls when they are made and when Pasadena is present.
The Lancers flew out the gate in the second half when midfielder Sandra Ambrosio took a shot after a pass from Hemelians that was saved by Mt. SAC goalkeeper Cassidy Mount.
Ambrosio tried without success to score again on a throw-in from Youseff and Lancers midfielder Rachel Schroeder saved a goal with a header out of the PCC territory.
The Lancers and Mounties were shooting the ball back and forth like a pinball machine as Rogers continued to make impossible saves, preventing 12 out of 13 shots on goal in the game.
“We’re ecstatic that she [Rogers] put in a performance like she did today,” said Rivas. “She’s now seasoned herself.”
Lancers forward Alexis Acosta drew a yellow card and the lead referee had to ask Bowen to cool her temper as she berated the referees, incensed by their calls or lack thereof.
The third time was a charm for Ambrosio on a free kick, as she drove in a goal in the upper-right corner from the 30-yard line, tying the score 1-1 with 16 minutes left in the game.
“I knew that it was going to go in. It’s either going to go in or it’s going to go in,” said Ambrosio. “It’s a rivalry. Everyone wants to beat Mt. SAC and knowing they beat us last time. It’s our home. We gotta come back hard.”
The Mounties offense was relentless and Snowden repeatedly went head-to-head with Rogers, losing every time.
Morales slammed into Snowden, drawing a yellow card and going down with an injury. But she was able to walk off the field and Snowden was fine.
Schroeder and Youseff pulled back, locking down the Lancers defense and pulling the Mounties offside. Unfortunately, Youseff went down hard with an injury after a throw-in and was unable to continue playing.
As Mt. SAC feverishly tried to score, Bowden called for Mount to come out of her goal box and pull forward, leaving the penalty area wide open. It was a bad decision.
With less than 10 minutes in the game, Ambrosio drove the ball forward with a pass to Hemelians who short passed to Schroeder in a heart-stopping play. Schroeder scored a goal and pulled the Lancers ahead 2-1.
Not giving up yet, the Mounties were denied a goal when Rogers tipped the ball over the top of the goal on a header from a free kick.
Rogers and Schroeder made one more save on goal with three minutes left and the Lancers played at full speed until the whistle blew and they secured their 2-1 victory.
“This past week has been amazing,” said Rogers. “Starting the week off with a win really helped.”