By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
No one on the Palisades High girls soccer team is looking that far ahead, but against a strong opponent they might face again in the City Section playoffs the Dolphins gave as good as they got in a scoreless draw with El Camino Real in the final game of the El Camino Classic.
“Tight games like this make you have to focus and talk to your teammates that much more,” goalkeeper Rachel Phillips said after making nine saves, several from point-blank range in the first half. “It was back and forth and I had to assess the situation and keep my composure. Yes, it’s a lot of pressure, but I like the challenge.”
Phillips knows a thing or two about pressure, having played for a championship as a guard on Palisades’ varsity basketball team last winter. Now she’s trying to reach the finals in another sport.
“My teammates are giving me info so it goes both ways. I’m still learning the verbiage,” she said.
It was a satisfactory result considering El Camino Real entered the season as the City favorite.
“The most important thing for us is to get match fit,” Pali High Coach Christian Chambers said. “We haven’t had much chance to practice so we’ll be in much better shape by the end of the year. We wanted to force them into mistakes, press them a little and switch it up. They are always the team to beat. This is the second year in a row we’ve tied them.”
Palisades opened the tournament four days earlier with a 2-1 home loss to Valencia.
Nicole Paul tied the game in the 50th minute off an assist from Jordan Darrow, but Autumn More scored the game-winner on a breakway less than a minute later. Phillips made several huge saves in the final 10 minutes to keep the Dolphins close.
“They’re a good team and this was a good test,” Chambers said. “We’re a little too reactive right now. If you give the ball away, get it back!”
Palisades was shut out 5-0 by Harvard-Westlake in its second tournament game last Wednesday.
On Monday, Palisades began Western League play with a 3-0 victory over Westchester at Stadium by the Sea. Paul scored off an assist from Darrow and Sadie Holt had two second-half goals.