By David O’CONNOR
25-yard left foot strike in the dying minutes sank the hopes of the Crescenta Valley High School boys’ varsity soccer team for a win in the opening conference game against host John Muir HS Pasadena, which ended in a 1-1 draw.
The Falcons went into the game with a disappointing pre-season record of 3-5-2, which included conceding 10 goals in the last three games.
Led by senior mid-fielders Kevin Ginosian and Justin Wright, CVHS controlled the Mustangs for the majority of the contest due to suffocating defense, improved attack and more cohesive teamwork.
According to Coach Grant Clark, Ginosian stood out for the Falcons by playing a key role in elevating the standard of their mid-field play with overpowering tackles and pinpoint feeds.
“I thought Kevin Ginosian played a great game in the middle of the field. He did a good job coming back to defend, working hard to get back behind the ball and winning quite a few tackles and then his distribution on his plays were really good,” Clark said. “When we played through Kevin we were able to get combinations a lot more consistent and that really helped us to get on the front foot moving forward.”
The Falcons opened the scoring early in the second half courtesy of leading goal scorer Wright, who netted his eighth goal of the season. CVHS set up this goal with impressive build-up from back, which enabled Ginosian to go up the line and pass to junior Joshua Moran, who had the vision to single out Wright unmarked in the middle of the field.
Clark lauded Wright’s experience and composure in finishing off a brilliant passage of play,
“It’s great on Justin, when you have a kid that has the experience Justin has to be able to take that extra touch to get the defender out of the way and get a clear shot on goal. It’s a credit to Justin for having the patience.”
The Falcons defense dropped their guard by allowing an open Mustangs player to drill the match-saving goal shortly after a controversial referee call that resulted in Coach Clark being given a yellow card for questioning the decision.
Although it was difficult for Wright to come to terms with the heart-breaking draw, he was happy with how his team played.
“It’s very hard to end in a tie like that; it kind of feels like a loss-considering how we played so well. I’m very happy with how we played. It’s unfortunate we just weren’t able to hold off for the last couple of minutes,” Wright said. “But, I’m still proud of the guys in the way that we played and the effort that we gave. We’re just going to go forward from here, we’re going to take the point, be happy
with it and move forward to Burroughs.”