Claire Robinson stood by herself under the lights at Valencia Heritage Park on Thursday night after a 1-0 loss to Santa Clarita Christian.
The Albert Einstein Academy goalie put her hands on her knees, then on her head as she tried to catch her breath.
Robinson’s body language said everything about why SCCS won the battle of unbeaten Heritage League girls soccer teams and why Robinson was the game’s star.
PHOTOS: SCCS and Einstein girls soccer
SCCS’s offense never stopped attacking, and Robinson — with the exception of Chloe Edwards’ game-winning goal early in the second half — never stopped deflecting, batting and lunging.
Robinson made 11 of her 13 saves in the second half when SCCS (7-3 overall, 6-0 in Heritage) outshot the Rockets 21-0.
Cardinals coach Jason Cooper called it the most team-oriented game he’d seen in a while from the Cardinals, who will look for firmer control of first place today in a rematch with the Rockets (7-5, 7-1).
Grace Patterson made a save in the first half for SCCS but went untested after the break.
That’s when Edwards broke away. Defender Lauren Bronstrup lifted a pass out in front of Edwards — who signed with Cal State Northridge on Wednesday — and Edwards did the rest, hurtling down the left side and sending a shot into the net.
“I saw that there was a little hole (in the defense),” Edwards said. “(Bronstrup) played it through. I took the defender on and just used speed and placed the ball in the lower corner.”
MORE SOCCER: Einstein boys soccer picks up crucial win
Einstein’s best scoring chance came in the closing seconds of the first half when freshman Jacqueline Morrison, who put pressure on SCCS’s defense throughout the opening frame, drew a foul just outside the Cardinals’ 18-yard box. The ensuing free kick sailed wide, and the Rockets never threatened again.
SCCS threatened at every turn.
The Cardinals peppered Robinson with shots, some from point-blank range, but the keeper kept Einstein in a game crucial to the Heritage League title chase.
“My goalie has been having an exceptional season,” said coach Donna Wood, who also credited defender Bryanna Yalung for the Rockets remaining within striking distance.
Einstein and SCCS play today at 3:15 p.m. at Canyon Country Park.