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Big second half propels Crescenta Valley boys' soccer past Hoover

GLENDALE — Some timely second-half scoring got the Crescenta Valley High boys’ soccer team off on the right note in its quest to win a second straight Pacific League championship.

Crescenta Valley’s defense also held its own.

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Crescenta Valley received one goal apiece from Calen Abad and Eric Cho and the Falcons yielded just two shots on goal to register a 2-0 road victory against Hoover on Tuesday in a league-opening match for both teams.

“We’ve been working on ways to seal up our defense and they came through today,” Crescenta Valley coach Grant Clark said. “It started with them and then we got on track offensively.

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“Our defense did a good job of backing each other up and we didn’t give up many scoring chances. It’s a 0-0 game at halftime and sometimes I get concerned in games like these, but I could see the look on their faces that we would be able to get the win. It’s a credit to them.”

Crescenta Valley (3-2) had a territorial edge against Hoover (1-3-3) throughout most of the first half and tested Hoover goalkeeper Leon Kaprielian, who had four saves in the opening half. By comparison, the Tornadoes, who took seventh in league last season, didn’t have a shot on goal in the first half.

Things turned around quickly early in the second half.

Abad scored in the second minute of the second half to give Crescenta Valley a 1-0 lead. Abad got inside the box off a pass from Alex Pearson and beat Kaprielian with a low shot.

“I found a hole and got inside,” Abad said. “I got the open ground and got off a good shot.

“We just had to stay with it and we’d get a good result. It’s big to get that first league win.”

Cho closed out the scoring in the 60th minute when he lined a 28-yard shot off the inside of the right post.

“That was just a great shot,” said Clark, the reigning All-Area Boys’ Soccer Coach of the Year.

Hoover’s best scoring opportunity came in the 73rd minute, when a shot by Alejandro Concepcion bounced off the left post.

Crescenta Valley goalkeeper Nick Shahbandarian finished with two saves. Kaprielian registered eight saves overall.

Hoover coach Jason Umansky, who coached his first game of the season after taking over for Ace Metallinos, said the Tornadoes had some positive signs in the contest.

“We’ve had a good work ethic all season and it showed again today,” Umansky said. “I’m pleased with what I saw out there.

“We just need to do a little bit better of a job moving the ball forward. The pieces are there. and we just need to put it all together. Crescenta Valley has a very good team and they are a great rival.”

The teams will meet again Jan. 15 at Crescenta Valley.

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