By Timithie NORMAN
The Crescenta Valley boys’ soccer team hosted the Hoover Tornadoes Tuesday, winning 3-1 to continue their undefeated (9-0-2) run in Pacific League play this season. The victory ensured that the Falcons will be awarded at least a share of the league title, which the Falcons have claimed for the last two seasons.
Senior captain Pavle Atanackovic got things started early in the first half when he headed the ball into the Hoover goal after a cross from Jaehoon Jung. Both Atanackovic and senior Mike Shahnazarians were back on the field for the match after sitting out Friday’s 4-0 win against Burbank because of red card penalties the previous game.
The first half saw Hoover (2-5-4) make a few good runs, but only two shots on goal. Crescenta Valley’s ball control and strong passing game were no match for the Tornadoes struggling defense, which gave up another two goals before halftime. Senior Salar Hajimirsadeghi scored on a cross from junior Erick Trejo in the 19th minute; Trejo scored his own goal soon after to take the Falcon lead to 3-0.
Atanackovic had a promising drive down the field that put him one-on-one with Hoover goalkeeper Malek Azadegan, but Azadegan made the first of his three one-on-one saves just before the half.
The Falcon momentum waivered in the messy second half with what Head Coach Grant Clark called “a few dips in intensity.” The referees came alive, however, awarding a smattering of yellow cards to players on both teams that interrupted the flow of the game and riled up players and spectators alike.
Hoover was given a penalty kick late in the game, the result of a handball in the Falcon penalty box. CV goalkeeper Nick Ruiz made the save, but soon after Tornado Patrick Awad made a drive for the goal that created a collision with Ruiz and teammate Carlos Oblea. All three scrambled for the ball, but Awad was able to put it in the empty net for Hoover’s only score of the game.
“We played well,” said Clark after the game. “This game showed why they are league champions. They earned it.”
Now at the end of a compressed schedule, Crescenta Valley has just three more matches in league play. Clark anticipates that their next game against Pasadena will be their toughest remaining match.
“They are a good team, and we can’t look past them,” he said. “Plus, it’s our last home game of the season so it means a lot to the seniors on the team.”
The Falcons face Pasadena High School on Friday at 3:15 p.m. at Crescenta Valley.