GARDENA - No one expected the San Pedro High girls soccer team to get a test from host Gardena in a Marine League game, but that's exactly what the Pirates got.

Was it because they were sleepwalking a bit knowing their showdown with rival Narbonne of Harbor City was looming large? Or was it because Gardena was desperate and determined to take down the eight-time defending Marine League champions for the first time in school history? We'll never know, but the Pirates would defeat the Panthers, 3-1 to remain unbeaten in league.

Gardena scored what was a questionable goal off a corner kick in the 13th minute, as the ball never touched the net despite going over sophomore goalie Taylor Miller's head, as the ball right after was cleared by freshman forward Maddie Villela.

San Pedro (5-8-1 overall, 4-0 league) dominated this game and ball control, out-shooting the Panthers, 37-1. Sophomore forward Ashley Lopez had 11 shots on goal alone, being rejected twice in a row by Gardena's goalie in the 16th minute, then missing a penalty kick that glanced off the left side of the goal. Junior defender Kirsten Bauman narrowly missed a 40-yard free kick that looked good the moment she booted it.

After several near misses, the Pirates would finally connect when senior forward Julia Fuentes put in a shot just by the goalie off a cross pass from fellow senior midfielder Jenny Rivera to tie the game at 1-1 in the 56th minute. San Pedro had another near miss as sophomore midfielder Lauren Antonelos had a shot on goal deflected by the goalie.

Still, the Pirates kept battling and Fuentes would strike again with the tie-breaking goal in the 69th minute, then Villela scored the insurance goal just seconds later. Sophomore midfielder Rianni Gonzales nearly added another goal as her shot, deflected by the goalie, nearly went into the net as it bounced off the top left corner of the goal and out.

Miller only needed to make one save on a Gardena breakaway in the first half where they were clearly offsides, but the referees let it slide, which set up the Panthers' corner kick goal.

San Pedro will next take on host Narbonne on Wednesday in a battle for sole possession of first place in league.

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