By Brian PARK
CV Weekly Intern
After winning 13 regular season games and one postseason game last year, the Falcons have begun the process of building a unified team with new head coach Kiel McClung at the reins. After losing four productive seniors and playing without starting midfielder Alex Baerger, the Falcons looked shaky to start the season, but after Wednesday’s game, it appears that the team is beginning to come together.
“We’re starting to mesh as a group, and by meshing we’re able to keep the ball. The guys are also getting to know and trust each other. The high school [soccer] season is very short season so it’s important the guys get to know each other,” said McClung.
Playing in their Pacific-League opener, the Crescenta Valley Falcons snuck by to beat Burroughs 1-0 on a goal in the 76th minute by Gor Grigoryan. By winning this game, the Falcons improved to a 2-3-1 (1-0-0 league) record and second straight in back-to-back wins.
The Falcons set the tone for the game early, aggressively attacking the opposing defense by getting inside the box. Although the Falcons constantly got in the box, the opposing defense held them without points in the first half.
“We just have to continue to shoot and shoot and eventually we can score,” said McClung.
Coach McClung’s theory proved true, as Grigoryan broke the tie with goal 25 feet out off Burrough’s goalie’s hand.
Although there were only four minutes left in the game, the Burroughs offense did not quit providing Crescenta Valley its hardest defensive test all game. Burroughs quickly and desperately got into Crescenta Valley’s box, but couldn’t tie the game up by the time the final whistle was blown.
Burroughs was completely shut down both offensively and defensively by Crescenta Valley, which shot nine times, while keeping Burroughs to three shots. Earlier in the game, Burroughs entered the Falcon box and got a shot off a couple of yards away from the goal, but goalie Stefan Eng deflected the shot to keep their streak of back-to-back shutouts alive.
“Defensively, we’re playing a lot better,” observed McClung. “It’s good that we have two shut-outs in a row. We’re staying mentally sharp.”
Showing signs of improvement from past losses and playing even better defensively from the shutout of Lancaster on Tuesday, the Falcon future is truly up to the players and the coaches. The potential for another playoff run is there, but needs to be grasped by the young and growing Falcon team.
The Falcons play another league game at Hoover High School on Friday at 3:30 p.m.