By Michael BRUER
The Crescenta Valley High School soccer team took to the field without their leading scorer, senior forward Matt Ryan (20 goals, four assists) Tuesday against Hoover. Ryan sat out with a hamstring injury, a decision that was more precautionary than anything, according to Head Coach Grant Clark. The team proved their skill and depth despite Matt’s absence, racing out to a 4-1 lead by halftime on their way to a dominant 6-1 victory. The Falcons (15-3-2) improved to 4-2 in league play with the win, erasing the defeats of last week to Burroughs and Pasadena from their collective memories.
“We expect a lot of ourselves,” said Clark. “The style that we played last week wasn’t good enough, and we need to get back to where we feel we need to be.”
Hoover (4-8, 1-5 in league) opened the game with a solid chance to score when senior forward Artin Almary launched a shot from well beyond the penalty box that ricocheted off the top of the crossbar back onto the field of play. Minutes later Crescenta Valley opened up the scoring when junior midfielder Kevin Ginosian received the corner kick from junior midfielder Justin Wright and buried a shot in the back of the net. The Tornadoes defense looked porous on the play, allowing Ginosian time to trap the ball and tee up the shot. The Falcons stayed aggressive in the early minutes, attacking often and with numbers.
At about the midpoint of the half, Ginosian notched his second goal of the contest, angling a bouncing header off the throw-in from junior defender Shyan Chachi for the score. The goal marked Ginosian’s seventh of the season to go along with five assists. The Tornadoes immediately responded with their lone goal of the game when Artin Almary cleaned up his own rebound on a penalty kick to cut the deficit in half, 2-1. The goal was set up by a fortuitous handball at the top of the box. A mere five minutes ticked off the clock before CV responded with a goal of their own, as senior defender Daniel Eng climbed the ladder to redirect Wright’s curling corner kick with his head for the 3-1 lead.
Ryan’s absence allowed other players to step up and gain valuable game-time experience.
“Matt probably could have played today, but we felt like an extra three to four days to let his hamstring heal up would be a good idea,” Clark said. “It goes to show that we are a deep team, to have the depth to switch one player out for another … You can’t just expect one person to carry you through; we’re going to need all 11 guys on the field.”
Junior forward Jason Winicki capped the scoring flurry in the waning minutes of the game for his seventh goal of the year that put the Falcons ahead 6-1.
“It’s nice to get a comfortable win,” Clark said. “My concern is that we get a little too comfortable and feel like we’ve fixed everything in one day, and that’s not the case – we still need to improve upon applying quick pressure on the ball, transition from offense to defense, things that a lot of teams take for granted.”
CV hosts Arcadia on Friday at 3:30 p.m.