By Brandon HENSLEY
By the time you read this, the Crescenta Valley High girls’ water polo team could be on its way to the championship game, or they could be coming home and planning for next season. The Falcons played in its semifinals game vs. top-seeded Royal in the CIF-SS Division IV playoffs on Wednesday at Diamond Bar High School. Results were not available to print in time for this week’s issue. It was the fourth semifinal appearance for the Falcons since 2012, all of which came in Division V. The team won CIF in 2013 under Coach Brent Danna.
The last two years have been run by Ricky Mulcahey, and on Feb. 20 he had the Lady Falcons playing dominating defense in the quarterfinals against Ayala at Pasadena City College. The Falcons swarmed Ayala, not allowing a goal in the fourth quarter, and swam away with a 10-4 victory. They previously beat up on Arlington 17-2 in the first round game at Burbank High School.
Against Ayala, senior goalkeeper Mackenzie Drewe collected 10 saves, many of which came at critical times. Drewe called it one of the best games she’s ever played.
“I believe I blocked key shots,” she said. “One of my goals is to block shots that help the counter, and I think I did that. I also improved in the game because I blocked a lot of lobs. Usually, they’re not my strong suit.”
“She was really good today. She was on fire, blocking shots,” said Brynn Fernandez, another senior who, along with Audrey Taylor, are the only players on the team to have experienced a CIF championship, which they won in 2013.
“Mackenzie had an amazing game,” said Taylor, who scored on a penalty shot in the first quarter. “It’s one of the best games so far. She really pulled through.”
The Falcons have long been a high-scoring team, dominating the Pacific League every year with players who can put the ball in the net with the best of them, including Elissa Arnold and Ashley Taylor, both who graduated in 2014. Over the past few years they’ve had Taylor and fellow senior Esma Dollaku, but this season they also gained freshman utility player Alex Garas, who at times seems unstoppable, overwhelming opponents with her strength and quick strikes.
Still, against Ayala, the scoring didn’t come as easily. Taylor said she expected it would be that way, and that the team always counts on solid play on the other side of the ball, too.
“Every game is a defensive game. Defense wins games, that’s for sure,” she said.
Mulcahey could be shouting to his team early in the game to stop pressing so much on offense. They had to slow it down a little bit, something they weren’t used to doing this season.
“We were rushing, making bad passes, passing to the wrong player,” Taylor agreed. “But we fixed that. We were using the clock wisely at the end of the game, because we were up and we didn’t want to turn it over.”
CV Girls’ basketball finds success in playoffs
The Lady Falcons basketball team also has the same schedule as the water polo team. The Falcons, led by seniors Alisa Shinn and Josie Brock, advanced to the Division 1A quarterfinals on Wednesday night, playing a road game against Huntington Beach.
The Falcons were 19-9 in the regular season and 12-2 in the Pacific League, right behind 14-0 Burroughs High School. Crescenta Valley defeated Knight 50-36 in the first round and downed Camarillo in the second round, 42-27. The semifinals are on Saturday at 7 p.m. CV advanced to the quarterfinals last season as well, before losing to Millikan.
Soccer teams fall
Both Crescenta Valley soccer teams had a short visit in the CIF playoffs this season. The boys lost in their wild card game against Pioneer Valley on Feb. 17. The boys, coached by Grant Clark, were 9-9-7 overall, and were fourth in league with a 6-6-5 record.
The Lady Falcons had a great year in the Pacific League, going 12-2 and finishing in second place behind Arcadia, but the team lost in the first round of the playoffs 2-0 to Alemany on Feb. 18. The girls were coached by Tyraysha Peterson.