Torrey Pines teammates congratulate Gianna Montini (3) after she scored the game’s only goal. The Falcons, bolstered by a strong defense, stand 8-3-4 overall and 2-1 in the Palomar League.
Catarina Macario quickly became one of the most feared strikers in the county last year, scoring a whopping 34 goals for the Torrey Pines High girls soccer team.
But rather than watching her build on that stellar freshman season as a sophomore this year, the defending Palomar League champions have been forced to learn how to win without her.
Macario tore her ACL in December and is out for the rest of the season. The Falcons showed Wednesday night that they might have a solution to her absence: a stingy defense.
Torrey Pines posted its second straight shutout and eighth of the season in a 1-0 Palomar League victory over visiting Poway. It is the eighth straight game that the Falcons have given up a goal or fewer.
“We have some good finishers and players in there, but just not as prolific as Cat,” Torrey Pines coach Martyn Hansford said. “She is really such a talented player. But we have worked hard to make sure we keep clean sheets. We are pleased with our defense.”
The lone score of the game came off the foot of midfielder Gianna Montini in the 54th minute. The senior captain one-timed a nice pass from Callie Petrey-Juarez to the bottom right of the net.
“It kind of ricocheted off my left foot, after I hit it with my right,” Montini said of the goal. “It ended up going to the corner, so I got a little bit lucky.”
Senior defender Lucy Ferrari helped hold the Titans (8-4-1, 1-2) to just five shots in the match. She and the rest of the back line have been tough for opponents to break through this year.
“We take a lot of pride in getting a clean sheet,” Ferrari said. “It is something we talk about every game, so when we are able to do it we get really excited about it.”
Torrey Pines (8-3-4, 2-1) managed just six shots in the match. The Falcons have scored more than one goal in only five games this year but don’t mind as long as they win.
“Trust me, I would rather score four goals. My job would be less stressful,” Hansford said. “But we will take a 1-nil win any day of the week.”