En route to winning the program's first CIF Southern Section Division championship last season, the Crescenta Valley High boys' soccer team used the Pacific League portion of its schedule to get it warmed up.
The Falcons won their third straight league championship, going 12-0-2.
There might be some obstacles in the way for the Falcons in their quest to win a fourth straight league crown. Matches figure to be more difficult this season and that’s the way the Falcons want it to be.
“Anybody that’s been in our position before knows you just can’t feel comfortable being the top dog,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Grant Clark, whose team will begin league with a road match against Muir at 3:30 p.m. Friday. “We know that people will be coming after us and that’s the way it should be.
“The key for us will be to win the games we are supposed to win and do it in good fashion.”
The Falcons, who won the Division IV championship last season and began this season as the top ranked squad in Division III, are 10-1-3. Among the main challengers to also contend for the league championship are Burroughs and Pasadena.
“You see and hear a lot of things about our league and the teams who figure to be there toward the end,” said Clark, the reigning All-Area Boys’ Soccer Coach of the Year. “I know Burroughs will be very good and we’ve seen Glendale play.
“I don’t think there’s going to be any easy games. You will get your best shot each time. That makes for good preparation going into the playoffs.”
The Falcons will be led by defender Matthew Bracht and midfielder Erick Trejo.
Glendale has a new coach in Artur Aghasyan who takes over for Tulio Marroquin, now an assistant with CV. The Nitros are fresh off advancing to the championship match of the La Cañada Tournament. Glendale beat La Cañada in a semifinal match of the tournament before falling to the Spartans, ranked No. 5 in the latest Division V poll
Aghasyan said he’s eager to see how the Nitros (5-3-1) will fare in league after placing sixth last season.
“Those were good games against La Cañada,” said Aghasyan, whose team will begin league at 3:30 p.m. Friday against visiting Burroughs. “Those were some good games to help us get set for league.
“They came at the right time. We have learned a lot about ourselves over the last few matches. We feel like we have a good team that can contend for a playoff spot.”
Glendale’s top players figure to be midfielders Albert Chamagua and Berj Ghazarian.
Hoover will strive to appear in the playoffs for the first time since 2010 while playing at a new site. The Tornadoes (1-2-1) will play their home games across the street at Toll Middle School while their main field undergoes major renovations.
Hoover will be the lone team to play its home matches on natural grass, something Hoover Coach Kevin Cadenas said he’s looking to use as an advantage.
‘’Everybody else plays on field turf,” said Cadenas, whose team will play its first three matches on the road, starting with Pasadena at 3:30 p.m. Friday. “It will be interesting to see how we do on our new field, but we actually think it’s better than the regular one.
“Right now, our defense is looking strong and we want to try to get at least one win and a couple of ties in those first three league games. CV is looking strong again and Burroughs is also going to be strong.”
Hoover finished seventh in league last season.
The top four teams in league earn automatic playoff berths.