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Team captain Villa get her kicks

Charles Rich and Erik Boal

GLENDALE -- o7 Odds and ends from the local high school soccer

scene:f7

Wanting more: With the seconds dwindling on her three-year varsity

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career, Crescenta Valley High girls’ soccer player Stephanie Villa needed

to put on her thinking cap.

Villa, a midfielder and one of two seniors on the 22-member squad, saw

a developing play take place that the Falcons have practiced throughout

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the season.

With less than a minute remaining in regulation and the Falcons

trailing second-seeded Canyon Country Canyon, 1-0, in a CIF Southern

Section Division II semifinal match Tuesday, CV’s Jorden Stanley took a

direct kick that was deflected by teammate Megan Stevenson.

Stevensen directed the ball in Canyon’s box and Villa, a team captain,

tapped the ball into the vacant net.

Patti Lynn Mitchell scored about two minutes into sudden-death

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overtime to give CV (21-6-3) a 2-1 win and a trip to Saturday’s CIF final

match against top-seeded Huntington Beach Edison.

“That’s the biggest goal I’ve scored,” said Villa, who has produced

eight goals and seven assists this season. “I’m glad we’ve practiced that

play. I told [assistant coach] Billy Curtis that our seniors weren’t

ready for the season to end.”

What’s the lesson that the Falcons have learned during its four

grueling postseason matches?

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“We have to play to our potential every minute,” Villa said. “Some

teams can play great for 10-minute stretches and get away with it, but we

can’t afford to do that.”

Villa and her teammates proved that Tuesday.

Remembering the kids: One of the turning points during CV’s season

occurred off the field when the Falcons visited City of Hope in Duarte on

Dec. 20.

CV distributed more than 100 pairs of pajamas to the pediatric cancer

patients during the third annual Pajama Drive. Under second-year CV Coach

Reggie Rivas and several school booster club presidents, the Falcons have

been community conscientious.

Rivas and Villa, a midfielder, didn’t count on the unseeded Falcons

advancing to the CIF Southern Section Division II championship match more

than two months later.

“Those kids would give anything to come out and play sports,” Villa

said. “I look at it that they have talent to play soccer. They don’t get

that chance and I like to think we’ll be playing for them.”

The team had hovered around .500 when they visited City of Hope.

The Falcons had played arguably one of their worst matches of the

season in a 4-1 nonleague home loss to Westlake a day before their

community appearance.

“Soccer is just a game,” Rivas said. “Yes, you want to win, but

helping out somebody is more important. You can play the worst game of

the season and it doesn’t matter the next day because it’s an inspiration

visiting those kids.”

A little bit of history: For the second straight season, the

Flintridge Prep girls’ soccer team advanced to the CIF Southern Section

Division V semifinals, making it the only local girls’ squad to make

multiple semifinal appearances since CIF adopted its playoff format for

girls’ soccer in 1981.

In addition, of the 20 teams that reached last year’s semifinals in

Divisions I through V, only 10 made return trips this season, with the

Rebels and Prep League rival Pasadena Poly both accomplishing the feat in

Division V.

Along with Tim Morphy’s squad, only Crescenta Valley -- which became

the first area girls’ team to reach a championship match -- and La Canada

have advanced as far as the semifinal round in the past 22 years.

La Canada’s 1992 team reached the final four in Division 3-A, losing

to eventual champion Torrance, 3-1. That Torrance team posted a combined

57-1-1 record between 1990 and 1992, en route to back-to-back CIF crowns.

The Rebels -- who lost to Brentwood, 2-0, in last season’s semifinals

-- couldn’t protect a 1-0 first-half lead and fell to La Salle, 3-1.

But Morphy, who has guided Flintridge Prep to a 39-5-6 (.780) record

during the past two years, still valued the accomplishment.

“It’s something these girls should be really proud of,” said Morphy,

who bid farewell to four-year varsity players Kate Boswell, Crystal Cook,

Lauren Hartford and Sarah Sheldon following Tuesday’s match.

“These girls worked hard and they have a lot of pride in what they do

and a lot of pride in their team.

“For them to come together for such a short period of time and be as

successful as they were says something about the quality of Flintridge

Prep as a school and the quality of this team.”


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