GLENDALE — It will be more of the same for one area high school boys’ soccer team and something new for two others.
Though none of the five local teams won a league championship this season, three earned the right to move on to the postseason after the CIF office unveiled its playoff pairings Monday afternoon.
For St. Francis, Crescenta Valley and Glendale, they can break out a map to help them reach their respective destinations for their opening playoff appearances. St. Francis and Crescenta Valley will compete in first-round matches Friday, and Glendale will take part in a wild-card match Wednesday.
The Golden Knights have been a regular in the postseason for years, highlighted by winning three CIF championships between 1996-2003. Crescenta Valley and Glendale didn’t participate in the playoffs last season, but both programs have since turned things around in their favor.
St. Francis (13-5-4) will meet Tesoro (9-5-10) in a Division I first-round road match at 3 p.m. Friday. The Golden Knights spent most of the season near the top of the Mission League standings before dropping their final two matches to place fourth. Tesoro, located in Rancho Santa Margarita, won the South Coast League championship.
“I don’t know much about Tesoro other than a couple of coaches in their league,” said St. Francis Coach Glen Appels, whose team last played Feb. 9 and will have an 11-day layoff between matches. “You look at the matchups in our division, and there’s nobody you want to play.
“When the playoffs start, you just know that you’ve got to win. We’ve been able to get a little rest because we got a little banged up toward the end of the regular season. Our last few matches have been playoff-like matches.”
The St. Francis-Tesoro winner will face Los Alamitos or Newbury Park in a second-round match Feb. 25. Newbury Park eliminated St. Francis in the second round last year with a 2-0 win at Friedman Field.
Crescenta Valley, which finished third in the Pacific League behind Pasadena and Burroughs, will make its first trip to the playoffs in two seasons. After winning two matches last season, the Falcons (9-4-6) strung together two league wins last week to punch their ticket to the postseason under second-year Coach Tino Morfin.
Crescenta Valley will meet Hawthorne (7-6-3) in a Division IV first-round match at 3 p.m. Friday. The Cougars captured the Ocean League championship this season.
“We can’t wait for Friday,” Morfin said. “We are all very excited, from the coaches down to the players.
“We think that it will be a very competitive match because the two teams are pretty even. It was tough losing all of those games last year, and we’ve been able to since do a 180. We want to keep our momentum going from these last two games and continue to keep our practices competitive.”
The winner of the Crescenta Valley-Hawthorne match will meet second-seeded Sierra Vista, Laguna Hills or Torrance in a second-round contest Feb. 25.
Glendale (7-6-12) placed fourth in the Pacific League with a win against Burbank on Friday. The Nitros, who will make their first appearance in the playoffs since 2005, will take on Oxnard (7-7-5) in a Division IV wild-card contest at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Oxnard finished third in the Pacific View League.
There won’t be much time to prepare for Oxnard, but at least the Nitros are still playing.
“We will go in with the mentality that we can win because you know that you have to work for everything,” Glendale first-year Coach Tulio Marroquin said. “I think it showed after we beat Burbank that the guys are excited to be going to the playoffs.
“They deserved it by earning it.”
The Glendale-Oxnard winner will battle host North Torrance in a first-round match at 3 p.m. Friday.
CHARLES RICH covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3228 or email@example.com.