2013 provided a sad close for Port Of Los Angeles High girls soccer, as they lost a pair of games against Paramount and Artesia of Lakewood to finish the Bellflower Tournament with a 1-2-1 record in mid-December.
The San Pedro High Pirate Cup Tournament, which provided a tough start for the Polar Bears in 2013, seemed to be once again a formidable challenge, but this time, the Polar Bears were more than determined to not let the Cup hinder their future success in the new year of 2014.
First off, the Polar Bears trailed 1-0 at halftime against Long Beach Jordan, but then they exploded for three goals in the second half, with a controversial penalty kick by the Panthers squeezed in between, that was more than enough for POLA to prevail, 3-2 in exciting fashion at San Pedro High. The Polar Bears then provided a similar comeback in their 1-1 tie with Paramount in their second game, but lost 3-0 in a penalty kick shootout.
Freshman forward Anna Vidovich tied the game early in the second half at 1-1 with a breakaway goal set up by junior midfielder Isabela Van Antwerp, before senior goalie Nicole Sierra got a surprising yellow card on a charging play where she wiped out a Jordan forward, though clearly Sierra got all ball.
Jordan (2-9-1 overall) would score off a penalty kick on a shot that grazed the hands of sophomore goalie Daisy Garcia for a 2-1 advantage, but then Van Antwerp would strike twice for POLA (4-2-4).
In the 49th minute, Van Antwerp blasted in a shot from 15 yards away to once again even things up, then would score off a rebound four minutes later to give the Polar Bears their first and only lead. Junior midfielder Tiffany Torres created the scoring chance with a throw-in, but Van Antwerp missed her first opportunity off the post, then immediately put in the rebound chance off a pass from junior forward Melissa Rodriguez.
Against Paramount, Torres' corner kick was perfectly done for a head-in goal by junior midfielder Ariella Martinez midway through the second half for her first goal of the season. POLA was wiped out in the penalty kick shootout against the Pirates, as Martinez and Vidovich's shots sailed high, and Van Antwerp was denied.
POLA finishes off the Pirate Cup with two more Division II games on Friday against Archer of Los Angeles, and Collin's Family of Huntington Park at the San Pedro High Olguin Campus.
In the Division I pool, San Pedro (0-6-1) lost both their games, 1-0 against Bishop Montgomery of Torrance, and 4-1 to Bishop Amat of La Puente. Sophomore goalie Taylor Miller was brilliant in both hard-fought defeats, with seven saves against Bishop Montgomery, and 11 more saves against Bishop Amat. Sophomore midfielder Rianni Gonzales scored the Pirates' lone goal against Bishop Amat.