By Alan Der OHANNESSIAN
The Crescenta Valley girls soccer season came to an end on Tuesday at CV High when the Falcons lost to Pasadena Poly 3-0 in the second round of the CIF Division III playoffs.
The Panthers were a force to be reckoned with; they had beaten Valencia 5-0 in their first round match. During the regular season, they had also out scored their opponents
The Falcons had lost their previous two first round matches in 2011 and 2012 before beating San Luis Obispo last week 1-0 to advance.
Pasadena’s offensive pressure put the Falcons on their heels for most of the game.
The Panthers managed to get into the penalty box and dribble past the goalkeeper, Emily Johnston, however an off-balance shot kept the ball out of the net.
The coaching staff was asking its players to step up their sense of urgency. To their dismay, it was Pasadena that stepped up its game, as Sarah Mendenhall scored in the 27th minute of the first half.
Mendenhall got a pass from midfield, dribbled past two Falcon defenders and blasted it 10 yards past CV goalkeeper Johnston.
“I think they had four, five shots, and they made three,” said Falcons’ coach Jorden Schulz on the scoring play. Mendenhall also scored the final goal late in the second half.
The Falcon coaching staff shouted words of encouragement to its squad to boost their sagging morale. But the words of encouragement didn’t make a difference. Pasadena scored again with 1:59 remaining in the first half.
Evan Gancedo was left wide open and put the ball to the left side of Johnston eight yards away for a commanding 2-0 lead at halftime.
Despite being behind, Schulz didn’t lose hope, and the Falcons believed in her words and made a push in the second half.
“We had our chances, we didn’t put them away,” said Schultz.
CV’s Karina Costilla played a cross pass to teammate Sarah Worden in the second half. The ball went past the goalkeeper, but the defense kept the ball out of the net, depriving the Falcons of a golden scoring opportunity.
The Falcons kept attacking but a goal remained elusive.
Midfielder Sierra Rhoads found a teammate inside the penalty box, but an off-balance shot hit the top bar and sailed wide.
Pasadena seemed unfazed by the attacks and scored again to put the match beyond reach.
“They have great attackers who put the ball away,” said Schulz.
With 14 minutes remaining until the end of the match, Mendenhall got a cross pass and put it past goalie Samantha Lizer, who came on in the second half.
Though the season came to an end, Schulz was proud of her team and remained optimistic for next year. CV finished second in the Pacific League and had a 14-5-2 overall record.
“We kind of got over the hump,” said Schulz in regard to the first round of the playoffs. “Hopefully we’re going to come back just as good as a team, if not better, next year.”