Now in its fourth season, the Crescenta Valley High girls’ lacrosse team is aiming to win its first Pacific League championship.
The Falcons appear to have the pieces in place to contend for the league title, yet know it won’t be an easy task with several other quality teams in the league.
Crescenta Valley turned to senior attacker Abby Sheklow to get the Falcons going in the right direction.
Sheklow scored a match-high seven goals to propel visiting Crescenta Valley to a 14-6 win against La Cañada in the league opener for both teams.
“It’s big to start off league with a win and we have a lot of experienced players,” said Sheklow, who collected five first-half goals. “They bring a lot of skill to the field and it’s a huge part of being successful.
“We’d really like to win league for the first time. We have the right mix of talent and we’re just looking to keep moving forward. Our offense and midfield gave me a lot of open space to score goals today.”
Crescenta Valley (10-4) also got three goals from Leah Crowther and one apiece from Alexis Ballard, Samara Yarnes, Peyton Lindman-Marshall and Lizzie Hales to turn aside La Cañada (5-6).
Crescenta Valley, which finished second in league before advancing to the United States Lacrosse Southern Section Los Angeles Division I playoffs last season, fell behind early in the first half. The Spartans, who took fourth in league last season and missed qualifying for the playoffs, received goals from Joyce Noh and Diane Lee to build a 2-0 lead nearly three minutes into the contest.
Crescenta Valley bounced back, getting goals from Ballard and Sheklow to tie it at 2 with 20:15 remaining.
Sheklow scored Crescenta Valley’s next four goals to make it 6-3. Her fourth came with 5:35 to go in the first half.
“Things went well for me in that stretch,” Sheklow said. “I think we do a great job at feeding off of each other without even speaking.”
Crowther scored two goals and Yarnes added one to give the Falcons a 9-3 lead before Noh closed out the first-half scoring at 9-4 with 1:32 to play.
After the Spartans pulled to within 9-5 on a goal by Jessica Jewell in the opening minute of the second half, Crescenta Valley scored five goals in a row to make it 14-5. Sheklow tallied the final two goals for the Falcons in that stretch.
“I think we have some very good teams in our league,” Crescenta Valley Coach Boz Crowther said. “There are three fighting at the top and the other three teams are improving.
“La Cañada played a very good game today and they have a strong core. We need to keep pushing through and battle hard in order to try to win league. We still have some work to improve on in certain areas.”
The Spartans got three goals from Noh and two from Lee.
“I liked the way we played as a team and you can take some things away from this game,” said La Cañada first-year co-Coach Kris Mueller, who shares the coaching chores with Lauren Lee and Ashley Delaney. “We got off to a good start and we stayed positive throughout.
“We have to fix some things, like with our attacking, but we are improving as a team.”
Crescenta Valley goalkeeper Sabrina White finished with 11 saves and La Cañada goalkeeper Daphne Herzfeld collected 13.