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First-place showdown goes to CV

Soccer: Goals by Keller, Lee lead Falcons to big 1-0 win over Bulldogs.

January 13, 2012|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

LA CRESCENTA — With an upstart Pasadena High girls’ soccer squad in the mix of a three-way tie atop the Pacific League, three-time defending champion Crescenta Valley knew Friday afternoon’s first-place showdown was a big game, indeed.

But, as the Falcons took shot after shot and a scoreless tie was still all to show, it was clear that the CV sideline and backline were growing frustrated.

Then, up stepped speedy freshman Grace Keller, whose off-balance, left-footed shot caromed off the far post and in for a 59th-minute goal that sparked the Falcons to a 2-0 win at home on Friday afternoon over the Bulldogs.

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“We were pretty much controlling the game, but we were in a hurry to score,” said Keller, who scored her first varsity goal in her third varsity game. “I felt like it was gonna go in. ... I didn’t see the goalie in good position, so that’s why I took the shot.”

A Sharon Lee header off an Olivia Bird corner kick 17 minutes later put the game out of reach for Pasadena (8-3-2, 3-1-1), as Crescenta Valley (6-3-1, 4-0-1) walked away still in first place.

“They knew they had to perform today,” said Falcons Coach Jorden Schulz. “We knew we were in for a game.”

Pasadena went back and forth with the defending champions for roughly the first 10 minutes, but while the Falcons’ frustrations grew with missed shots — they outshot the Bulldogs, 21-4 — the Bulldogs began to wear down, as Crescenta Valley was clearly the more physical squad.

“Everyone in league is a lot more physical than we are,” Pasadena Coach Kamiko Johnson said. “It definitely messes with you mentally and physically.”

Taking a large portion of the physicality was sophomore Samantha Koemans, who was, in large part, the only offensive nuisance to the Falcons, especially with Bulldogs leading goal scorer Amanda Speks sidelined with a foot injury that kept her out for the last three games.

“[Koemans’] back’s pretty messed up. Every hit, it gets worse. That’s soccer sometimes,” Johnson said. “[Speks will] be back next week. I think [her absence] makes a difference. It makes a difference in attacking.”

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