Albert Einstein Academy girls soccer’s strong first-half play got even stronger in the second half, leading to a 4-0 shutout against Trinity Classical Academy, a first-year program, at Rio Norte Junior High on Tuesday afternoon. The Rockets struggled in preleague play, but have found their footing in the Heritage League, winning 12-1 against Valley Torah of Los Angeles before going on to defeat the Knights. “It boosts our momentum,” said Rockets coach Donna Wood of Tuesday’s win. “We’re definitely ready to go from this point forward with all the rest of the teams that we have to go (through).” Ariann Landaverde scored first for Einstein (2-0 in league), followed by two goals from Jacqueline Morrison. The pair has been working in tandem to score goals all season. “I’ll dribble down the field and either score or center it … or I’ll send it out wide to Ariann and she’ll take it down and center it for me,” Morrison said.
Trinity applied pressure toward the end of the first half, but couldn’t capitalize on chances — two of which came off consecutive throw-ins — to get a last-minute goal. The Knights faced an even stronger force in the second half as the Einstein defense locked up the midfield, keeping the ball in their own attacking territory. “In the first half, we were a little bit off,” Morrison said. “But after coming together as a team and realizing what we needed to do, we were able to go back out there with more knowledge of who they were as a team and able to dominate the second half.” It tested the Knights’ defense, including goalkeeper Aleah Fontenette, who held off a barrage of shots and gained confidence as the peppering continued. Despite Fontenette’s performance, the Rockets were able to sneak in one last goal as Nicole Arakelian dribbled up the left side and shot the ball through traffic and into the net. Trinity coach Lexi Deol thinks that as defensive strength grows, the team’s overall play will improve. “Our composure in the final third still needs improvement,” Deol said. “Our three strikers, two of which haven’t played soccer ever. We need more of a solid defense, so I think that’s what’s really hindering us from getting to offense.” Einstein will resume play after the holiday break against Santa Clarita Valley International on Jan. 3. Trinity (0-5) will play Guidance Charter on the same date.