The Spartans, who were playing their season opener, were held scoreless for a span of more than 15 minutes before Lindsey Coss and Miranda Mora scored goals 43 seconds apart in the fourth quarter to cut the score to 4-3. But a goal by Herpetian on a man-advantage with 1:35 remaining that squeezed inside the far post essentially clinched the match.
“That’s what we needed,” said Garcia, who got two goals apiece from Herpetian and senior hole/set Abby Glaessner and a single tally from sophomore utility Gaby Aghakian.
With 28 seconds left, the Spartans got a steal off a poor Bulldogs’ pass, but Herpetian tied up the possession, creating a scramble for the ball that saw the time run out.
Still, second-year Spartans Coach Kristen Dronberger was pleased with the progress shown by a team that a season earlier lost to Burbank, 18-1.
“I have no complaints,” said Dronberger, a former All-American at USC who assisted the Spartans boys’ team in its CIF Southern Section Division III finals run. “Our defense was eons better. ... We made leaps and bounds from last year.”
The Spartans held the lead early on, breaking a shutout that encompassed the first quarter when Shelby Powell scored with 6:31 to go in the second quarter. But the Bulldogs answered only 25 seconds later when Herpetian scored off a wide-open look. Glaessner followed with a skip shot for a 2-1 lead with 5:14 to go in the first half. Glaessner’s tally ended the first-half scoring.
In the second half, though, the Bulldogs built a 4-1 lead and it looked as if they would cruise to victory before the Spartans’ offensive spurt.