By Vincent PAGE, intern
s the weather gets colder and Christmas lights go up, high school soccer season begins. That includes the Crescenta Valley High School varsity boys’ team. Head Coach Grant Clark has led his team to a 1-3-1 record as of Sunday, including a 4-1 win against Chaminade High School earlier this month.
The record can be deceiving, as two games against Pasadena High School – losses of 1-0 and 2-1 – are the Falcons only league play so far. The team also has 15 seniors, which will make a big difference when the Falcons take on teams they play every year. CV’s returning players will be well armed in knowing their opponents’ schemes and strategies.
The most recent game against Pasadena was hard fought, and CVHS seemed confused by the Bulldogs’ aggressive approach. When on defense, Pasadena players would put immediate pressure on the ball-handler, forcing him to react immediately by either trying to beat the defender with a dribble move or making an ill-advised pass. The ball was on CV’s side throughout most of the first half with Pasadena consistently making long passes down the field and then controlling the ball while in enemy territory.
With 13 minutes to go in the first half, the lone goal was scored by Pasadena senior Angel Estrada. After the goal, it seemed that CV was gearing up to score as they had a handful of shots, but none went in and instead were either off the goalie’s hand or missed the net entirely.
Things got chippy as the game went on, with CVHS’ junior midfielder Josh Sanbar earning a yellow card on a controversial call. With time running out, CV put forth more effort, trying to push the ball downfield. Frustrations boiled over at six minutes remaining when Pasadena senior Scott Schwartz got a little too aggressive, earning himself a red card along with an ejection. The anger felt by both teams led to a scrap with two minutes left on the clock that involved CVHS senior Joshua Moran at the center of the action. Moran was issued a red card for his involvement.
Though CVHS isn’t off to the strongest start, the players’ goals for the season have not changed. The team still plans to overcome these defeats and continue to build their chemistry.
“The biggest thing is that we can still make the playoffs and, ultimately, that is the overall prize. Anything can happen when a team is in the playoffs. We just have to make sure that we are in that mix by working hard as a team and defending as a team,” Clark said.
Although its league schedule is damaged, the team will be looking to improve its overall record today against Channel Islands High School at CVHS at 3:15 p.m.
Girls’ Soccer Update
The Lady Falcons are at La Cañada High School today for a 3:15 p.m. showdown with the Spartans. The Falcons were 2-2 heading into this week with wins over Pasadena 6-1 and 9-0. Those wins also count for the Pacific League, while the two losses, to Saugus and Flintridge Sacred Heart, were non-league matches. The girls get back to league matches starting Jan. 5 when they travel to Burroughs High School at 3:30 p.m.