Difficult Saturday for Girls’ Soccer as Flintridge Prep is Last-Local Team Standing

The La Cañada Spartans girls soccer team lost a hard-fought match to the Bishop Montgomery Knights on Thursday. Photo by Doug BROWN

By Justin HAGER

Due to its population, mild climate and concentration of wealth, California is known as one of the best college and professional athletic recruiting states in the country. The CIF showcases the state’s incredible talent by putting the best teams up against each other. And any coach will tell you that winning a CIF tournament game is difficult. Never was that difficulty on greater display for the local region than during the CIF SS girls’ soccer tournament.

The Burbank-Glendale-Crescenta-Cañada region entered last week’s gameplay with six teams in the hunt for a sectional championship, including three in the regular first-round bracket and three competing for a wild-card birth.

Wild-card play began Thursday evening with Glendale, Burroughs and La Cañada competing for the chance to play in the first round of the tournament.

Burroughs, which took third place in the Pacific League, traveled to Palmdale to face off against the Highland Bulldogs. After an exciting and evenly matched 1-1 bout, the match entered a sudden-death overtime. Highland defeated Burroughs in a heartbreaking loss by out-shooting the Bears 3-2 in the sudden-death. While the match does mark the end of the season for the Burroughs girls’ soccer team, there is reason to be optimistic going into next year. All three goals scored by the Bears during the CIF-SS wild-card match were kicked by sophomore Nadia Aguilar and junior Julia Narmore, both of whom are expected to return next season.

Like Burroughs, the La Cañada Spartans also saw their season come to an end in the wild-card match. The Spartans entered the match with a 10-4 record and were favored to win over a Bishop Montgomery Knights team that had gone just 5-6 on the season. However, with the incredible emergence of freshman standout Natasha Zuvic, the Bishop Montgomery Knights knocked off the Spartans 2-1 in regulation. Fortunately, 13 returning roster members next year should bode well for the already strong Spartan squad.

The lone regional victor in wild-card play came from Glendale High School. Led by an impressive squad of mostly juniors, Glendale overpowered the Hawthorne Cougars, taking 14 shots on goal, three of which landed. Junior goaltender Riley Millward saved three shots on goal and helped lead the Nitros to a 3-1 victory. Unfortunately for the Nitros, the victory was short lived as the Nitros found themselves on the opposite side of a dominant performance by the Hemet Bulldogs four days later. Hemet defeated Glendale 3-0 in the first-round matchup.

First-round play also saw local action in the Division 2 bracket, as both Crescenta Valley and Flintridge Sacred Heart hoped to move closer to a title.

The 3-6 Flintridge Sacred Heart Tologs found themselves heavily outmatched against the 13-6 Moore League champion Woodrow Wilson Bruins. Despite a solid defensive performance, a single goal was all the Bruins needed to secure a victory 1-0.

The Pacific League champion CVHS entered their matchup against at-large entry Corona Del Mar as a slight favorite. But, once again, CIF tournament play showed that California offers the best of the best and even the fourth place team in the Sunset-Surf League is no joke as the Sea Kings defeated the Falcons 2-1. The loss is particularly disappointing for a CVHS team that went deep into the Southern Section tournament last year and had aspirations of pursuing a state title this year.

With a number of seniors departing, including co-captains Rachel Park, Kaisa Lindman Marshall, Megan Parada and Lindsey Furstenberg, team assist leader Lauren Graves, defensive powerhouse goalkeeper Isabella Galvan, and offensive dynamo Teleya Blunt, the Falcons will almost certainly see themselves rebuilding over the next year or two.

The sole round one victory for local schools came in Division 3, where the Flintridge Prep Wolves, the Prep League champion, dominated the Canyon Cowboys 4-0. Each of the goals and assists were performed by juniors and freshmen, setting up the Wolves to return a strong team next year. But first, they continued their journey through this year’s CIF-SS tournament with a game against Santa Barbara on Wednesday. The result of that game was not available at press time.