LA CRESCENTA — With no seniors on the Crescenta Valley High girls’ soccer team, there’s plenty of opportunity for younger athletes to make an impact and shape the program’s foundation.
Now, and for the immediate future.
The young Falcons haven’t wasted much time getting started.
Competing in its season-opening match against rival Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy on Tuesday, Crescenta Valley received two goals apiece from sophomore forwards Chloe Ataya and Dana Ryan to register a 4-0 nonleague home win.
“We don’t have any seniors, so it’s a challenge for our players to step up and contribute where and when they can,” said Ataya, a reigning All-Area pick who collected 17 goals last season. “We want to keep our intensity up and we have so many good players.
“I had some real good chances today and I got stopped the first time and got a little frustrated. Then I was able to find some ways to score.”
Participating in its first match as well, Flintridge Sacred Heart, which won the Mission League championship last season for the first time since 2011, looked a bit rusty and struggled to contain Crescenta Valley’s quick-strike offense.
Ataya gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead when she tapped in a corner kick by Kathryn Thamasian in the 10th minute.
“You come into the first game of the season and you really don’t have an idea of what to expect,” said Crescenta Valley coach Tyrashya Peterson, whose team took third in the Pacific League last season behind Arcadia and Burroughs. “We had a good showing and you can’t complain.
“There’s so much opportunity for our players to step up their game and we saw that today. We have a group of forwards in Chloe, Dana, Julianna Cheney and Ashlin Cuesta who can turn it on. They did that today.”
Ryan extended the lead to 2-0 on a low shot from about 25 yards in the 52nd minute.
Ataya made it 3-0 about two minutes later before Ryan closed out the scoring in the 71st minute.
Crescenta Valley goalkeepers Phoebe Barnes and Audrey Brown combined on the shutout. Barnes started the first half and made three saves and Brown registered five saves in the second half.
Flintridge Sacred Heart goalkeeper Jamie Pernecky finished with 10 saves. Pernecky stopped Ataya on two breakaways and made several other diving saves to keep the match from getting more out of hand.
“We lost our whole defensive unit from last season, so we’re trying to rebuild back there,” Flintridge Sacred Heart coach Mark Snashall said. “There’s opportunity for players to step in.
“We’ve only had two practices, so it’s going to take a few games to find our identity. So, we’ll see what we can do going from there.”