Wins over Pasadena, Muir solidify Falcons as No. 1
By Timithie NORMAN
The Crescenta Valley boys’ soccer team claimed the Pacific League title for the third straight year Friday after a 4-1 home win over Pasadena High School.
The Falcon team is currently ranked third in the CIF Southern Section Division IV poll with a league record of 11-0-2 after Tuesday’s most recent 3-0 victory over Muir High School in Pasadena. Played under menacing clouds but no rainfall, the match was the penultimate in league play.
After recording a 4-0 win over Muir at their last meeting on Jan. 17, the Falcons came out on the field expecting an easy win. But a strong Muir front line caught the Falcons off guard and dominated much of the first half in the Mustang’s offensive end.
“We didn’t come out as strong this time,” said senior Alex Berger, who had two assists. “We already had league wrapped up so we weren’t as focused.”
Muir had three offensive attacks before the five-minute mark and demonstrated aggressive control of the ball for much of the first half. The Mustang’s strong passing game and consistent possession kept the Falcons to just three shots before halftime. Fortunately, two of those shots saw the net.
Junior Rani Dimashki knocked in a header off Berger’s corner kick in the 20th minute, putting Crescenta Valley on the board. The Falcons had plenty more opportunities to score with a handful of free kicks just outside the penalty box, but couldn’t finish. Senior captain Pavle Atanackovic had a header goal called back due to an off side call, frustrating an eager CV offense. Finally, just before the half, junior Erick Trejo scored on a low, fast ball to the corner of the net to put the Falcons up 2-0 at the break.
Crescenta Valley came onto the field strong and regained offensive control for much of the second half, but Muir’s offside trap prevented four different CV runs at the goal from going anywhere. The Mustangs had two promising opportunities to tie the score, one shot on an open goal that bounced off the left post and one hard shot saved by CV’s keeper Nick Ruiz.
Finally, in the 74th minute, CV’s Atanackovic beat the Muir keeper and passed the ball into the net to complete the scoring.
“Muir is always tough,” Falcon head coach Grant Clark said postgame. “Their standings don’t show it but they have a lot of skill. And we had a lot of missed opportunities.”
CV’s Dimashki said the team is still trying to get all the pieces to come together as they look to playoffs after today’s final league match at Arcadia.
“We have great passing, and great finishing,” he said. “We just need to work on transitions and pull it all together if we want to win at CIF.”