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Crescenta Valley boys' soccer's CIF run called to a stop

Handball call in final 10 minutes leads to Crescenta Valley Falcons' downfall in 2-1 loss.

February 20, 2013|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

LA CRESCENTA — Over the last 10 postseason matches for the Crescenta Valley High boys' soccer team, which included a run to a CIF Southern Section Division IV championship in 2012, nine of the Falcons' contests were decided by just one goal.

An astoundingly dramatic – yet successful – run to say the least.

But on a cold and windy afternoon Wednesday at Crescenta Valley High, the Falcons felt the sting of being on the wrong end of a one-goal conclusion and the subsequent end of the season to go with it.

Doomed by a handball in the goalbox with just under 10 minutes remaining it their CIF Southern Section Division III second-round game, the Falcons lost on the strength of the ensuing penalty kick to fall to visiting fourth-seeded Century, 2-1.

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“That’s a tough one,” said Falcons Coach Grant Clark, whose team also reached the finals of the CIF Southern California Division I Regional Championships last season where it fell, 2-1, to Paramount for its other one-goal loss to seven one-goal wins in its last 10 playoff matches dating back to last season. “Especially with 10 minutes to go, when it’s that late in the game, it’s tough to come back. The ref made a judgment call and we have to live with it for the next nine months.”

The handball came after a Century throw-in in its attacking third took a bounce and hit the forearm of a Falcon, who had his arms down at his waist. Century’s Ronaldo Pineda calmly went low and to the left with his penalty kick, which evaded the best efforts of Falcons keeper Josh Cook’s diving attempt and led to the end of the Falcons’ season, one in which they went 19-4-7 and finished second in the Pacific League.

“You go 19-4-7, a lot of teams would be pretty happy with that,” said Clark, whose team went 23-1-6 a season ago and lost a cavalcade of talented seniors from last year’s squad. “We put together two really good years where we lost a total of five games.”

Down, 1-0, in the second half, Crescenta Valley finally began to assert control in terms of the run of the game, though it continued, for the most part to play longball.

“Usually we’re a lot more methodical coming down the side,” Clark said. “When we let a team dictate how we play, we don’t play to our potential.”

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