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Ugly CHS soccer match against Glendora ends in a tie

During a break in the action on Friday, the theme song from “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” blared from the loudspeakers, adding an appropriate description to the girls varsity soccer match between Claremont and Glendora.

The good included an aggressive, exciting match between last year’s Palomares League co-champions that ended in a 2-2 tie after two overtime periods.

The bad started with a hair-pulling incident that quickly turned into a brawl, resulting in two red cards.

The ugly came from the Glendora fans, one of whom threw an object onto the field, but did not have the character to admit to the act, prompting the referee to clear the entire Tartan bleacher.

It was bound to be an interesting night, with both the Pack and the Tartans starting league play, and both looking to show they were the better team this time around.

Glendora came out with greater intensity and seemed to control the momentum, helped by a few missed opportunities from the Wolfpack. Nonetheless, it was Claremont that got on the board first.

With 7:33 left in the half, Glendora junior Kenadee Zernickow, who shadowed CHS junior Sophie Jones all night, fouled Jones about a yard out of the box. The ball was placed so close to the goal line that CHS was denied a direct shot. Jones’ free kick was blocked, but the ball landed directly at the feet of Claremont junior Tyler Higuera. She delivered a shot directly to senior goalkeeper Sarah Reyes, who initially blocked it but failed to hold on.

Claremont held its narrow lead until about 10 minutes into the second half with a somewhat confusing play that caught Claremont’s goalkeeper, senior Allison Bifone, off guard.

The ball was rolling fairly quickly toward Bifone, who was playing about 20 yards from the net and appeared to be ready to boot the ball back into play. Instead, the ball got past her, rolling right to Glendora junior Jillian Juarez, who was alone in front of the Claremont net. All she had to do was tap it in.

Seven minutes later, the Tartans took advantage of a sparsely defended Claremont goal as Juarez made a sweet pass to senior MacKinley Gregus, who delivered a long but well placed shot that found the net in the left corner.

If the Tartans have one regret, it was the ill-timed fouls, one of which literally cost them the win. With just 6:34 on the clock, Zernickow once again fouled Jones in striking distance of the Tartan goal. Senior Kyra Tisopulos took the free kick and nailed it directly at Reyes, causing her to step back and, once again, lose the ball into the net.

The trouble began as the game was winding down and Claremont was threatening to take the lead. Reyes reportedly grabbed Janelle Gutierrez’ hair, prompting the Claremont junior to take a swing, and then several other girls joined the scrum. The fight lasted less than a minute but a few girls did receive minor injuries.

Reyes and Gutierrez got red cards, were ejected from the game and will receive a one-game suspension.

“I think the emotions got the better of their goalkeeper and she grabbed our girl by the hair. Our girl swung and the ref made the right call,” Coach Tim Tracey said.

The melee apparently prompted a Glendora fan to throw a water bottle onto the field, which drew a rebuke from the referee. The guilty party refused to be identified, and the others refused to out the offender, so after a few minutes all of the Glendora fans were ordered to leave.

As they slowly filed out, many fans relocated to a spot behind the border fence. But the referee would not restart the game until the ejected crowd completely left campus.

As the delay in the game grew, one Glendora player lashed out in frustration, “You have to leave. Please, it’s only a high school soccer game.” Kudos to her, she obviously has more integrity than the adults.

Claremont clearly had the advantage in overtime because Glendora had to sub midfielder Angelica Avelar for Reyes, but the sophomore did a fine job in goal, stopping several well-placed shots.

“I have been doing this a long time and I have never seen the sideline cleared, not in high school. But if the other parents are not going to fess up to the person who made the offense, then everyone has to go,” Coach Tracey said.

After the game restarted, Coach Tracey instructed the girls to rise to the occasion. “Maintain composure and be the classier player. Don’t stop playing physical. Don’t stop playing hard, but play within the foundation of the laws of the game,” he said.

Looking ahead, the coach anticipates a tough schedule.

“Every year the Palomares demonstrates that it’s the most competitive league in the area next to the Baseline [league], and every game is going to be a battle,” he said. “We are still finding our groove and looking for our identity. The good news is they battled back from two goals scored in the second half. If we are going to be a fighter like that, it will help us greatly.”

The Pack, now 12-2-3, played Bonita at home on Thursday after press time. Tuesday’s game against South Hills at District Field in Covina was rained out and will have to be rescheduled.

—Steven Felschundneff