LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — The Crescenta Valley High girls' soccer offense got a jolt of life at the expense of host La Cañada on Monday afternoon after having been dormant for most of the season prior.
Crescenta Valley only had one goal to its name the entire season before manufacturing three goals against the Spartans for a 3-2 comeback win, with all three coming in the second half and the game-winner coming on a fall-away effort from Whitley Boller.
"We were two goals down, but our team fights," Crescenta Valley Coach Jorden Schulz said. "It doesn't always look pretty but they tend to work hard nonetheless. The game isn't over until it's over."
The first half came and went without any goals and only a few scoring chances until both offenses exploded in the second half. La Cañada (3-4) came out on fire to start the second half, scoring two straight goals in two minutes. Although it put Crescenta Valley (2-3-1) down early, the Falcons were still able to scratch out the one-goal victory.
"They beat us and we lost it for ourselves," said La Cañada's Coach Louie Bilowitz. "We got disorganized in the second half and did a lot of experimenting with our formations. I told the girls before the game we were going to do that because that's what preseason is about."
Megan Siepler, a La Cañada forward, opened the scoring five minutes into the second half for the Spartans. Siepler sped past her defender to a well-played through ball, taking it one-on-one to Falcons' goalie Alexa Sasmita and fired it into the back of the net.
Two minutes later, Siepler was at it again. This time she was setting her teammate, Morgan Rittichier, up for an easy goal. On a corner kick, Siepler sent a ball in the box all the way to the far post where Ritticher was waiting. Rittichier knocked the ball in, giving the Spartans what looked like a comfortable 2-0 lead.
Sierra Rhoads, a Crescenta Valley forward, said she wasn't worried.
"We seem to be doing better when we're down because we work harder," Rhoads said. "I think that's when we play our best because we have something to play for."
She proved her point, scoring the Falcons' first goal of the game and second of the season. Rhoads ran the ball down into the box, firing it low across the goal and past La Cañada's diving goalie, Haley Austin, who finished with 12 saves.
"I was just hoping not to miss," Rhoads said.
The score shifted momentum to Crescenta Valley's side.
The Falcons' second goal was also off a corner kick. Austin lunged trying to grab the ball on the cross but ended up leaving a rebound for an open Sarah Worden. Worden, a Crescenta Valley midfielder, knocked the ball into the open net, tying the game at 2 with nine minutes left.
Boller put the Falcons ahead two minutes later. She controlled the ball at the top of the box while being pressured by a Spartan defender before sending off a desperation shot. Boller's shot caused her to fall backwards. She got back up and to her surprise saw the ball in the back of the net.
"I really didn't think it was going to go in, I was just trying to do everything I could to get the ball through and it just went in," Boller said. "I had no idea I had scored until I got up."
Bilowitz said he wasn't unhappy, even though he saw his team squander a two-goal lead.
"We played as well as we can at this stage," Bilowitz said. "We're much better than we were last game, we just have a long way to go. I thought we were competitive with them and that's what I wanted. I don't care about the result — the way we played is more important — what matters is what happens in January."