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Crescenta Valley High girls' soccer one-upped by Poly

Soccer: Falcons defense is strong, but team can't recover from early goal in 1-0 season-opening road defeat.

December 03, 2013|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com

PASADENA — Nearly nine months had passed since Pasadena Poly ended the 2012-13 campaign for the Crescenta Valley High girls’ soccer team via a second-round postseason elimination victory in the CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs.

While February has long since passed, the Falcons found themselves in a familiar place, which is to say they were under siege again by the potent Panthers offense.

Yet, despite losing the field position and shots battles, Crescenta Valley narrowed the gap a bit with the divisional runner-up and CIF Southern California Division III Regional champion after a 1-0 road loss at Babcock Field in Tuesday’s season opener.

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“We had most of our chances in the first half and they had a lot more chances in the second half. A one-goal game with the regional champions, I’m not complaining,” said Falcons fourth-year Coach Jorden Schulz, whose team was defeated, 3-0, by Poly on Feb. 19. “We still have a long way to go, but for our first game coming out against them, I don’t think we had a bad performance.”

Poly outshot Crescenta Valley, 20-6, with that difference noticeable in a second half where the margin was 13-2.

The Panthers also attempted eight of their 10 corner kicks in the second half, while keeping the ball in their attacking third for most of that time.

Yet, even with all those statistics, the Panthers were shut out thanks in part to some clutch and fortunate defense.

Perhaps no flurry better explained Poly’s offensive day than a three-shot sequence that began in the 49th minute off a throw-in from sophomore Annie Winton that split two Falcons defenders and found junior forward Nora Johnson, who fired a five-yard shot directly into the grasp of freshman keeper Sydney Schoeller (three saves).

Four minutes later, it appeared Crescenta Valley was beat when a brilliant through ball from Panthers junior Kayla Valencia found a streaking Johnson, who one-timed a seven-yard shot over the arms of a leaping Schoeller.

The shot on goal ricocheted off the crossbar and directly down, but not in goal.

However, with Schoeller out of position and Valencia steaming toward the net, the goal seemed imminent until Falcons junior defender Grace Keller raced from just inside the 18, slid and knocked the ball out of play.

Approximately 30 seconds later, the Panthers were denied a third time when Valencia set up junior Becca Hanel with a five-meter shot that Schoeller knocked away with one hand.

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