SAUGUS — Things started late and ended early for the Crescenta Valley High girls’ soccer team on Friday afternoon.
In between, the Falcons showed plenty of promise, all the while exposing the kinks they’ll need to work out before Pacific League play.
And, when all was settled and Crescenta Valley saw its bus trip delayed 45 minutes and its nonleague game ended at least three minutes early, the Falcons had a 1-1 tie with Saugus, the 10th-ranked squad in CIF Southern Section Division II.
“I’m happy with the result,” said Falcons Coach Reggie Rivas, whose team is now 1-0-1. “A 1-1 tie in [nonleague], I’ll take it.”
The day began with the Falcons waiting on a bus that wasn’t coming, delaying their journey to Saugus by roughly 45 minutes. Hence, when they arrived there was little time to warm up and the match started roughly 15 minutes late. That played a role in the match ending with over three minutes remaining on the scoreboard clock, with the officials stopping the match upon the ruling that, without lights, games can be called 10 minutes after sundown. It was a bit premature, however, as the sun had yet to completely go down.
“I don’t think mentally we were really focused,” said Rivas of his team in the opening half. “We were given six minutes to warm up.”
Saugus (1-1-1) had Crescenta Valley on its heels early and often throughout the first half, taking a major possession advantage. It wasn’t until 10 minutes in that the Falcons finally began to make anything happen on the offensive end.
Eventually they worked the ball down, resulting in a throw-in deep in Saugus’ end. Crescenta Valley’s Tori Baldridge made the throw and Frances Boukidis played it back to her on the outside. Baldridge crossed a pass in and Whitney Cowell popped in a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute.
Much like their match on Monday against La Cañada, though, the Falcons lost a measure of intensity after scoring and, seven minutes later, Saugus’ Erin Ortega cut through the defense and crossed in a low shot to make it 1-1.
The second half proved to be a different story, however, with Crescenta Valley taking charge in the first 20 minutes. The latter part of the half played out more evenly, but, despite better possession in comparison to the first half, the Falcons struggled to find shots, shooting just once in the second half and five times total.
“We’re still working on our offense,” Rivas said. “It’s a work in progress.”
On the positive side for the Falcons offensively was the play of senior Veronica Aguilar and, in particular, fellow senior Brittany Berger, who played well despite a leg injury and played physical against a sometimes bruising Saugus onslaught.
“Brittany Berger displayed today what hard work and heart is,” Rivas said.
The Falcons defense was also a highlight, keyed by Baldridge, Olivia Serra and Dana Dowse, who also turned in a gutsy performance after taking a shot to the eye and incurring a leg injury, as well.
“They’re very calm back there,” Rivas said. “I was very happy with the defense.”