LA CRESCENTA — With rain rarely relenting and the ball speeding up, stopping and switching at an unpredictable rate, when Crescenta Valley High's girls' soccer team hosted Burroughs, the Pacific League match quickly became one in which anything could happen.
The anything, essentially, turned out to be nothing.
Both the Falcons and Indians survived scoring scares before walking away with a 0-0 tie on a wet and rainy Friday afternoon at CV High.
With Crescenta Valley earning a 2-2 tie against Burbank two days earlier, Burroughs Coach Louie Binda knew the Falcons would come out with a solid effort.
"This is a very good CV team," Binda said. "Because they had tied with Burbank, we knew they were going to come out gunning for us.
"But I thought that we outplayed them for most of the game. We had some very good chances in the last 10 or 15 minutes but we just couldn't score.
"Rain's an equalizer," said first-year Falcons Coach Jorden Schulz. "It just equalizes the playing field.
"I'm happy to get a tie in the conditions."
Binda said he thought the wet conditions didn't affect play too much.
"It was cold and it was wet, but the field wasn't in that bad of shape," he said. "Both teams had to deal with it."
With the tie, the Falcons sit at 2-1-3 with an 0-0-2 mark in league in beginning their defense of two straight Pacific League crowns.
"We started out tough," said Schulz of the schedule seeing them face Burbank and Burroughs in the first week of league. "I think Burroughs is a much better team than they usually get credit for."
At the onset it was the speed of Burroughs (1-2-3, 1-0-1 in league) that was difficult for the Falcons to contain.
"They had the momentum at the beginning of the game," Schulz said.
Burroughs had no less than four quality scoring chances inside the first 20 minutes of the match, but none were better than when a ball crossed in front of the net, prompting Falcons goalie Jessi Magallon to make a diving attempt at cradling possession. She couldn't hold on, though, and Burroughs' Maria Gomez had a prime shot on an exposed net, but Falcons defender Mallory Carcich, who turned in a stellar day of play, was there to make the save.
Soon enough, the Falcons began to win the possession battle and to get their own opportunities, largely due to the play of Sierra Rhoads in the midfield and Katie Callister up top.
Callister had three shots on goal saved, including two in the first half. Perhaps the Falcons' best chance came when she kicked a ball toward the Burroughs net and an Indians defender's clearing kick went awry and Burroughs goalie Tatiana Sanchez was forced to make a diving save to stop an own goal.
"We started to take over at the end of the first half," Schulz said, "and we were definitely in control in the second."
For the most part, the second half belonged to the Falcons, who had eight shots in all, with Gomez forced to make five saves. Magallon made four saves on nine Burroughs shots, as the Falcons defense, which also saw standout play from Dani Busta, tallied its third shutout of the season.
The best scoring chance for CV in the second half came when Carcich let loose on a free kick from roughly 55 yards out that found Jordan Royer, who flicked a header on a line toward the high, right corner of the net. The shot was saved by the fingertips of Gomez.
"We had a lot of chances," Schulz said. "We gotta learn how to finish."
While the second half went the way of the Falcons for the majority of the time, it certainly didn't end that way, with Burroughs getting off three shots and ample opportunities in the last two minutes. The last chance came when two Indians had the ball slip through their feet at the doorstep of the Crescenta Valley net without getting a shot off just seconds before time expired.
The Indians defense of Haley O'Brien, Hallie White, Brooke Hazzard and Delaney O'Brien kept the Falcons honest. Sanchez, returning from an injury that kept her out of the last four games, was flawless in the nets.
The Burroughs midfield of Daniela Salinas, Riley Garden, Angie Caro and Tatiana Rizzotti played very well.
"On a day like today, it's good to be [unbeaten in league]," Schulz said, "to look at it in a positive way."
With the Indians on winter break, they will resume Pacific League play Jan. 4 at Muir.
"It's nice for us to go into that third game undefeated in league," Binda said.