LA CRESCENTA — Caleb Abad came away surprised.
Given plenty of space and time when possessing the ball, the Crescenta Valley High boys’ soccer player looked to do everything in his power to operate smoothly while serving as a major contributor for his squad.
Abad recorded his first career hat trick to help host Crescenta Valley cruise to a 7-2 Pacific League victory against Burbank on Friday.
“Burbank’s defense wasn’t really guarding me and I had quite a bit of room at times to try to make something happen,” said Abad, a senior midfielder/defender. “It was pretty surprising and you just want to go out there and find ways to help your team.
“It definitely feels good to get the hat trick, but it’s better to get a win after we tied our last couple of league games.”
Crescenta Valley (4-2-2, 2-0-2 in league) overcame an early goal by Burbank (3-3, 2-2) to gain the upper hand in the first of two head-to-head meetings. It marked the most goals the Falcons have scored in a match this season.
Burbank opened the scoring in the first minute when Jack Taglang intercepted a clearing pass by Crescenta Valley goalkeeper Nick Shahbandarian and lined a 20-yard shot into the empty goal.
Crescenta Valley tied the score at 1 in the third minute on a goal by Ervin Gregorian off an assist from David Villaseñor.
“It’s not the best way to start a match by giving up a goal in the first minute, but I liked the way we came back and tied it up,” said Crescenta Valley coach Grant Clark, who led the Falcons to the league championship en route to being named the All-Area Boys’ Soccer Coach of the Year last season. “If I had to pick a positive in giving up the first goal, it’s that it came in the first minute.
“I liked the way we played the rest of the way and I’m pleased with the overall result. Caleb went out there and played a very good game and he received some nice passes along the way.”
Abad gave the Falcons a 2-1 lead when he tucked a shot just under the crossbar in the 20th minute off an assist from Talon Carvalho.
Abad extended Crescenta Valley’s lead to 3-1 following another assist from Carvalho about five minutes later.
The Bulldogs trimmed the deficit to 3-2 on a 35-yard shot by Nick Diaz in the 35th minute.
Crescenta Valley then closed out the first-half scoring in the 38th minute on a goal by Adom Oshagan.
Abad completed the hat trick with a goal in the 43rd minute to give Crescenta Valley a 5-2 lead.
Elias Ayranjian converted on a penalty kick to make it 6-2 in the 52nd minute before the Falcons capped the scoring on a goal by Carlos Medina in the 59th minute.
“We got off to a good start with the early goal and then we turned around and gave it right back,” Burbank coach Loi Phan said. “The early goals we give up to start halves have killed us.
“We played hard and we’re still getting used to each other. It’s a pretty young team. We’re learning and we’re improving.”
The Falcons and Bulldogs will meet again Jan. 18 at Burbank.