LUTHER BURBANK MIDDLE SCHOOL — More than halfway towards a repeat of its Dec. 17 scoreless tie against host Burroughs High, the Crescenta Valley girls’ soccer team finally broke out with some offense in the second half on Wednesday.
And, while Cassandra Orozco’s header off a corner kick in the 51st minute and Mallory Carcich’s 35-yard free kick in the 68th minute were enough to keep the Falcons in first place in the Pacific League, Crescenta Valley’s continued reliance on set pieces left Coach Jorden Schulz less than thrilled overall with a 2-0 win.
“Set pieces are good to be good at, but I’m usually not very satisfied if we don’t get a score in regulation,” said Schulz, whose team’s two goals in its 2-2 tie with Burbank on Friday also came on a corner kick and a free kick.
Burroughs Coach Louie Binda didn’t have the luxury of scrutinizing goals, or even shots, as the Indians, who entered play one point behind CV in the league standings, had few chances on the day and have gone 0-2-1 in their last three matches with both losses coming via shutout.
“We didn’t execute our offense at all. We get the ball in the midfield, but we can’t get it up to the forwards,” Binda said. “There’s a disconnect in there and if you don’t have any offense, you keep putting pressure on your defense.” Eventually, you break down and you give up a couple of set pieces. We’ve got to do better on offense, that’s all.”
Crescenta Valley (8-3-4, 6-0-3 in league), which took six second-half shots to Burroughs’ one, got its first goal on a Jordan Royer corner kick sent into the goal box, where Orozco was able to head it home past goalkeeper Tatiana Sanchez.
Seven minutes later, Royer made a smart defensive play on a ball chipped into the goal box by the Indians’ Josie Castellon, clearing the ball out before it could roll to the goal line.
The Falcons would turn it around with a two-on-one breakaway moments later, but the Indians recovered when Sierra Rhoads waited a couple of seconds too long to cross it back to Sarah Worden. Burroughs (5-2-2 in league) then got its lone shot attempt of the half four minutes later when Daniela Salinas’ free kick from just outside the penalty box bent just past the left post.
Carcich’s free kick struck the bottom of the crossbar and went straight down into the goal. Royer was there to remove all doubt and hammer the ball into the back of the net, but Carcich was credited with the tally, as the ball had already crossed the goal line.
“We got very caught up in the first half playing their game, which tended to be a little more over-the-top ball, which, for us, doesn’t work very well because we’re not very fast up top, we’re more of a connection team,” Royer said. “Second half we ended up capitalizing on our opportunities. Unfortunately, most of our opportunities have been set pieces, which we’ve gotten pretty good at.”
“We’re very inconsistent right now with our pressure and [the players know it],” Schulz said. “We didn’t have enough pressure in the first half to get enough turnovers to have it go our way.
“That’s been our battle, I think, the whole year. [In the second half], I think the pressure I guess was what caused them to foul us a couple times t get us some scoring opportunities and obviously pressure on the end line can cause corners.”.
“In a game like this, we’re not generating the attack enough to put it away, but we’re definitely not in jeopardy,” Schulz said.
Said Binda: “We played much better agianst them at their field than we did in this game. The kids played hard. Even after we gave up the second goal, the kids kept working.”