Heading into the final 10 to 15 minutes of their boys’ soccer contest, goalkeepers Jacob Cardenas and Nich Shahbandarian figured they’d need to make at least one huge save.
Cardenas and Shahbandarian guessed correctly when Burroughs High and Crescenta Valley met Friday in a Pacific League match.
Both were equal to the task, as Cardenas made five saves for Burroughs and Shahbandarian had five as well for Crescenta Valley in a 0-0 result at Crescenta Valley.
Burroughs captured the league championship last season and Crescenta Valley took second. This season, the Indians (2-3-1, 1-0-1 in league) and Falcons (2-3-1, 1-0-1) have plans to contend for league supremacy once again.
Shahbandarian made a sliding save just inside the box against Juan Carlos Rosales in the 63rd minute before Cardenas foiled Argin Baharians with a similar save in the 71st minute.
“We definitely played well on defense, but I knew I’d have to make a save toward the end,” Cardenas said. “You know coming in that you have to always be prepared against a team like CV because they are one of our biggest challenges.
“I came out on that play and was able to make that stop when I needed to.”
Said Shahbandarian: “It’s one of the biggest games of the season against Burroughs. It felt like a playoff game. It was a little nerve-wracking there late in the game and I took a chance and was able to get that stop.”
Burroughs and Crescenta Valley picked up where they left off last season. Both teams had a couple of good scoring opportunities early in the 80-minute match, but neither could convert.
Shahbandarian turned aside a shot by Jaden Vasquez in the 51st minute. With less than two minutes remaining, Baharians rolled a shot just wide of the right post.
Burroughs first-year coach Mitchell Kodama, who took over for his father, Mike, said the Indians generated some scoring chances.
“It’s always a big game when Burroughs and CV meet,” said Mitchell Kodama, whose team began league action Tuesday with a 3-0 home win versus Glendale. “It turned out to be a very gritty game and we often compete well against CV.
“We almost got a couple of goals. Both teams were unlucky that they couldn’t get any goals today. Jacob came up big for us. We’ve played two tough games in Glendale and CV to start league and we’re happy with where we are.”
Crescenta Valley coach Grant Clark, whose team started league play Tuesday with a 3-0 road win at Pasadena, said the Falcons expected a hard-fought match against the Indians.
“The goalies came up big for both teams and the game started to open up in the last 10-15 minutes,” Clark said. “I expect to see the game open up the next time we play them.
“Burroughs has some dynamic players and they are a handful. Nick has shown that he’s the goalkeeper for our team right now and he did it again today.”
The Falcons and Indians will meet again Jan. 17 at Burroughs’ Memorial Field.