LA CRESCENTA — A few minutes after the Crescenta Valley High girls' soccer team closed out its regular season Thursday afternoon, Falcons Coach Jorden Schulz turned her attention to the playoffs.
The Falcons entered Thursday's Pacific League finale against rival Arcadia with a chance to finish second in league with a win and a Burbank defeat.
Though Crescenta Valley didn't get the combination its sought, Schulz wasn't disheartened after the Falcons fell, 2-0, to first-place Arcadia at home.
“I actually thought we played better as a whole because we were ready to go and we knew what we needed to do,” said Schulz, whose team dropped to 9-9-2 and 8-4-2 in league for 26 points. “I can't complain about our performance and sometimes you just have to tip your hat to the other team and say good job.”
Arcadia, which had already clinched the league championship long ago, improved to 15-5-1, 14-0 in league 42 points. The Apaches, ranked 10th in the latest CIF Southern Section Division III poll, took first, while Burbank placed second with a 3-1 win against Burroughs (7-5-2 in league) on Thursday to finish at 10-3-1 in league for 31 points.
The CIF Southern Section office will unveil the playoff pairings for all seven divisions Monday. It's likely that the Falcons will play their first postseason match on the road.
“I think if we play the way we did today in the playoffs, then we have a shot at going pretty far,” Schulz said. “Maybe we can get to the second round or quarterfinals.
“If we can put forth the necessary effort to play well, then we can be contenders. If not, then it doesn't bode well.”
Arcadia took a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute on a low shot by Vienna Rousett past diving Crescenta Valley starting goalkeeper Sydney Schoeller just inside the right post.
Crescenta Valley pressed for the equalizer. The Falcons' best chance came in the 39th minute on a lined shot by Grace Keller that Arcadia starting goalkeeper Adriana Maldonado tipped over the crossbar. Maldonado finished with four saves, including three in the second half.
The Apaches picked up an insurance goal in the 71st minute on a shot inside the left post by Rachel Schroeder that eluded goalkeeper Lilly Urumieh.
Keller said the Falcons, who finished 1-1-1 in their final three league matches, couldn't solve the Apaches' defense throughout parts of the contest.
“They’ve got good and experienced defenders,” Keller said. “We came out with a good intensity level and I think we will be fine if we can keep that same level in the playoffs.
“We do have a young team. We just need a bit more determination and I think things will be good. We'll try to play the same way the next time.”
Arcadia, Burbank, Crescenta Valley and Burroughs all earned automatic playoff berths.