Title run goes off track for CV

The pressure was definitely on the Crescenta Valley High girls' soccer team when it squared off against Burbank Tuesday in a Pacific League match.

A win would give the first-place Falcons a share of their third league championship in five seasons.

The Bulldogs, who had already locked up third place in league, had a more relaxed approach to the contest.

It was that mindset that likely helped Burbank pull off one of the biggest upsets in recent program history.

The Bulldogs dominated play in the second half and scored the match-winning goal with 10 minutes remaining to earn a 2-1 victory at Burbank.

“I told the girls before the match to just go out there and play relaxed,” said Burbank Coach Loi Phan, whose program notched its first win against the Falcons since joining the league three seasons ago. “We really had nothing to lose in this game, so we just wanted to go out there and have fun.”

The match didn't provide many jovial moments for the Falcons (15-1-4, 12-1 in league). Not only did the team lose the match, but the loss set up a one-match showdown with Arcadia with the league crown on the line.

Crescenta Valley will play an Apaches team that's lone loss in league came at the hands of the Falcons. That match will be Thursday at 3:15 p.m. at Crescenta Valley.

“It's all going to come down to one game for the championship,” Falcons Coach Reggie Rivas said. “That's how we like it. We have a great rivalry with Arcadia and that game will mean a lot.”

Unfortunately for the Falcons, they will have to play the match without one, and possibly two, of their best players. Senior midfielder Brittany Berger drew two yellow cards and had to leave the contest with a red card, requiring her to sit out the team's next contest.

With two minutes left in the match, senior defender Tori Baldridge went down with an injury and had to be helped off the field.

“That is really tough for Tori,” Rivas said. “We will have to assess the injury and talk to the Baldridge family to see if she is going to be able to play against Arcadia.”

Burbank (15-7, 9-4) was able to take advantage of its scoring opportunities, and dodged a few bullets, to notch the win.

With the teams tied at 1 after the first half, Burbank came on in the second half, culminating with the winning goal.

In the 70th minute, junior Stephanie Alcaraz lofted a throw-in toward the Crescenta Valley goal. Senior Kristina Amela was able to flick the ball on a header over to her sophomore sister, Alexandra, who headed it in.

Dominating the early going in the first half, the Falcons had two prime opportunities to score in the first 16 minutes.

The first came on a penalty kick in the 12th minute. However, Danny Cardenas was stopped by Burbank goalkeeper Jennifer Seip, a sophomore.

In the 16th minute, Seip was caught out of position as a ball was blasted toward the Bulldogs goal. But Burbank sophomore Brittany Austin had positioned herself in the goal, and she was able to block the offering.

Crescenta Valley finally scored in the 27th minute on a header by junior Whitney Cowell.

Burbank tied the score in the 29th minute on a free kick from junior Natalie Burns.

Phan said he was impressed with the play of Seip, a defender who has been pressed into service after the team's top keeper went down with an injury.

“She had never played keeper until three games ago,” Phan said. “But she has really stepped up for us.”

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