“Not a single one of these boys played in that [quarterfinal] game. To lose to them by two is not bad, but of course we want to win.”
The sixth-ranked Falcons brought a rather simple, albeit ambitious, game plan for stopping the fifth-ranked Panthers — contain junior standout Tommy Gilfillan.
The Panthers’ co-captain accounted for half of his team’s goals, including its final two in the fourth quarter to prevent a Crescenta Valley comeback. Poly took an 8-4 lead into the final quarter and reinforced it at 9-5 with 4:54 to play on a straight shot from Gilfillan.
Starting with his second goal of the match, at the 3:29 mark of the fourth quarter, Crescenta Valley’s Tristan Winterhalter tallied three goals in a 1:30 span. The final two were assisted by Mason Holland, and the last came on a 6-5 man advantage with just under two minutes remaining.
But, Gilfillan managed to break up that string of goals with one more of his own, at the 3:00 mark, to make sure the Falcons would never get closer than two goals away.”
“Our defensive game plan was to hold [Gilfillan] to one goal and we didn’t execute that at all,” Sakonju said. “He was a significant factor in their win, both on offense and on defense.”
Crescenta Valley struck first when Bryan Redfern scored on a turnaround shot set up by a pass from Holland (three assists) at the 4:41 mark.
Gilfillan scored on a breakaway to give the Panthers a 3-2 advantage going into the second quarter. It was there that the Panthers exploited the Falcons offense to the tune of steals on the first four Crescenta Valley possessions.
Poly went up 5-2 on a lob shot over Falcons goalkeeper Michael Rea (seven saves) by Nick Grover, followed by Peter Bohlen’s finish on a break, assisted by Gilfillan. Winterhalter (four goals) found the back of the cage just before the end of the first half to cut the lead to 5-3.
The third quarter saw Crescenta Valley miss what were arguably its best chances to take control of the contest, as the Falcons scored a goal in only one of four man-advantage opportunities.
That goal came on the final attempt, with Jeremy Mackintosh converting, but it was immediately negated by a Grover goal following a Crescenta Valley ejection.
The Falcons schedule gets no easier in their next match, a meeting with Cerritos, which is the top-ranked squad in Division VI.”
We’ve got nothing to lose [in that game], but we want to be able to execute,” Sakonju said. “We want to improve upon this game.”