San Marino jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead on the first possession off a beautiful backhand shot from star Laura Adams.
But the Falcons clamped down on Adams and the Titans the rest of the half, reeling off six straight goals to take a 6-1 lead into intermission. Seniors Keri Kunkel and Kelly Anderson each scored twice during that stretch, but it was the defense, which totaled 13 steals in the match, that set the tone.
“We pride ourselves on defense,” said Anderson, who finished with a team-high four goals. “We try and crash the hole and take away their best player. We flow well together.”
Junior Olivia Trimis and Anderson scored early in the third quarter to give the Falcons a commanding 8-1 lead before the Titans made a bit of a run.
Adams finally got free from the suffocating Falcons defense to rifle in three second-half goals and pull San Marino closer at 10-5.
But that’s as close as the Titans, who were playing without most of their bench players, would get as Anderson and Kunkel scored the match’s final two goals to put the contest on ice.
Kunkel and Trimis each finished with three goals, while junior Taylor Kuh chipped in two scores and five steals for Crescenta Valley.
Adams was most of the offense for San Marino, scoring four of the Titans’ five goals.
Crescenta Valley goalie Isla Zilbert was a rock between the pipes, collecting 14 saves, including several aerobatic denials to keep the Titans (5-8) at bay.
The Falcons, who improved to 8-5 with the win, seem to be peaking at just the right time as they prepare to begin their Pacific League title defense in two weeks.
“We could do well in league and hopefully win the title,” Anderson said. “We just have to play our game and not the other team’s game.”
Crescenta Valley will take a break for the holidays before returning with one final nonleague tuneup at home against Louisville on Jan. 3 at 3:15 p.m. The Falcons will open Pacific League play Jan. 4 at Hoover.
DYLAN KRUSE covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.