By Aimee YEGHIAYAN
The Crescenta Valley boys soccer team’s successful season ended Feb. 20 with a game against Century High School. The semi-final round of CIF knocked out CV with a 1-2 loss at home and left the team 19-4-7 overall and 8-2-4 in league wrapping a memorable season.
“One of the downfalls of being a coach is I always imagine the worse and what could happen. We finished the first 10 games at 8-1-1 and won the Ralph Brandt Tournament, which was no easy feat,” said CV head coach Grant Clark. “I was really impressed with how they worked. They showed what they were capable of by beating strong teams like El Camino Real, St. Francis, and Birmingham. We have a lot of respect for the teams that we played but those were three big games for us in that beginning stretch of the season.”
Unfortunately the team couldn’t win against Century in CIF. Although many attempts were made, the only CV goal was by Pablo Satillo with an assist from Rani Dimashki.
“I think one of the unsung heroes for me this year that most people wouldn’t recognize is Rani Dimashki. Rani played every defensive position. We had injuries and so Rani was the fix-it guy. I had plans to use him as an outside back this year but with injuries to Matt Bracht and Brian Ju, Rani had to learn to play centerback on the fly against very tough teams,” said Clark. “He works so hard in practice and never takes anything for granted. I hope that our young guys on the team learned what happens when you work hard because Rani set that example every day. There isn’t a stat to show what a difference he made for us.”
Even with the loss, the Falcons had a successful season overall with many moments that will be remembered for years to come, including a 2-1 win against Arcadia on Feb. 7.
One of Clark’s favorite moments was beating Valencia High School in the first round of the CIF playoffs.
“We were down 2-0 with 25 minutes to go and no one panicked. The team worked together to create opportunities and we tied the game. In overtime, Justin Wright collected a ball and fed Russell Carpenter who beat his man around the end line and fed a perfect ball to Erick Trejo. To see the team come together and celebrate a win like that is something that cannot be manufactured or created. It is spontaneous and exhilarating. What a blessing to be at that game.”
Like last year, CV will have a difficult time adjusting to the loss of their seniors. With only seven or eight team members expected to return next year to varsity, the newcomers stepping up from JV will have to work hard alongside the returning players. Clark said they will follow the same schedule they did last year, beginning practices early to get the team used to working with each other.
“The good thing about the soccer program, and it started a few years back, is that there is a culture of winning and success. Those who will be back next year know what it takes to win and understand what the coaching staff and the school expect from our Falcon soccer players. Those expectations that are set will fill the gaps left by those seniors who are graduating,” said Clark.
“There always seems to be a doubt when a class graduates, especially like the past two classes that we have had. I think a lot of people will be surprised when they see the product that will end up on the field when the new season rolls out.
“I’m not ready to put out any guarantees but I think parents, students, teachers, and the Pacific League will be surprised by what we roll out of the shop.”