The Falcons, who won their second consecutive Pacific League title this season, but came a round short of reaching the quarters for the second straight campaign, had allowed just three goals on the season entering Wednesday’s match, with 17 shutouts to boot.
The fourth and final goal they gave up came when Corona del Mar sophomore defender Sydney Raguse played a ball into the box that was falling at the precise spot in which Crescenta Valley goalie Apolonia Martinez was forced to race up to it and risk it getting by her or wait for a bounce. The bounce never came, though, as a hustling Maddie O’Connor sprinted onto the scene and booted in the match’s lone goal.
“It was a great play,” CdM Coach Bryan Middleton said.
Martinez, who had four saves, was basically forced to field an in-between hop before O’Connor booted the ball just before it touched down. The 11th minute score clearly set the wrong tone for the Falcons.
“We talked about coming out and starting fast,” said Rivas, whose team scored four goals in its last four games, getting shut out twice during that span. “We didn’t and they did.”
It was the biggest example of a lackluster beginning for Crescenta Valley, which was on its heels and out of sorts for most of the early going.
“It was a slow start,” said Rivas, whose team’s only other loss this season was also a 1-0 defeat. “We just weren’t there mentally and physically.
“They capitalized on it.”
But shortly after O’Connor’s tally, the tide changed in favor of the Falcons.
“We dominated the first 20 minutes, but then it turned,” Middleton said.