PASADENA — While the passing was sloppy, communication lacked and mother nature interfered with modest rain, there wasn't much that separated the Crescenta Valley High and La Salle girls' soccer teams — except for perhaps one hustle play.
A rebound goal from senior Katie Callister in the first minute of extra time accounted for the offense in Friday’s nonleague affair as the visiting Falcons defeated the Lancers, 1-0, at Kohorst Field.
“La Salle is very good and they have a lot of things going, so it was nice to get a win,” Crescenta Valley Coach Jorden Schulz said. “We played hard and sometimes when you work hard you get a little lucky and we capitalized on it. Sometimes, that’s how it goes.”
The Falcons, who have recovered from an 0-2 start to go 2-0-1 since, created their own fortune early in stoppage time, when they pushed deep into their attacking third and were awarded a penalty kick on a Lancers handball in the goal mouth.
The subsequent penalty was taken by junior Olivia Bird, who rifled a shot off the top right crossbar and back into the field of play.
Whatever break the Lancers received from the miss didn’t last, as the ball bounced forward about eight yards from goal.
Callister quickly broke from formation after the miss, centered the ball and converted a shot into the far right post for the game-winner.
“Well, Jordy just told us to follow after the ball was kicked,” Callister said. “I did that. I saw the ball bounce off the post, I trapped it with my knees and bounced it in.”
The shot was the 13th for Crescenta Valley, but only the fifth in the second half as the rain made passing inconsistent on both sides.
La Salle (3-2-1) also struggled at times in the second half in only attempting two shots, versus five in the first half.
It appeared, though, the Lancers were on the verge of scoring the match’s first goal in the 73rd minute on a free kick that sophomore Kacey Venti hit from 30 yards in which backtracking Falcons goalie Samantha Lizer made an acrobatic leaping punch to knock the ball out of play.
“Basically, I just jumped as high as I could and just hoped to God I would get it,” said Lizer, who was substituted in place of Emily Johnson (four saves) at halftime and finished with two saves.
The near-miss coupled with the Falcons’ late goal made the defeat difficult for the Lancers and coach Edgar Manvelyan.
“It was a heart-breaker. I thought both teams were very evenly-matched and it was back and forth,” Manvelyan said. “It was a last-minute PK, that was it, that was the game.”
La Salle’s defense kept the contest close.
In the sixth minute, Bird laced a corner kick into the box that deflected off the back of a teammate and past Lancers goalie Cassidy Rey (seven saves). Yet, the ball was slow enough for Lancers sophomore forward India Hines to back up Rey and knock the ball out of play.
Similarly, Falcons junior Lisa Kang collided with the University of Denver-bound Rey in the 29th minute on a header that Kang lobbed over Rey’s head before being smacked to the ground.
The ball bounced near the goal, but was batted away by a La Salle defender.