Falcons for all seasons

GLENDALE — This is the eighth and final edition in which the News-Press looks back at the area's 2009-10 seasons, school by school, before looking ahead at the year to come.

No matter the sport, no matter the season, whether it was girls or boys, on the golf course or the basketball court, the football field or the softball diamond, Crescenta Valley High athletics found success.

It is a notion backed by the amazing fact that every single sport was in someway represented in the CIF postseason.

Pacific League titles were won, CIF success was had.

There were individual accolades by the likes of Michael Timpson and Melanie Samvalian and team triumph from the likes of the girls' basketball and soccer teams, just to name a few.

But the biggest success was found in the pool.

Both the girls' and boys' water polo teams won Pacific League titles with dominant undefeated runs, before advancing to the CIF quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. Just the same, both the boys and girls won league crowns in swimming, but it was the boys — bolstered by freshman phenom Young Tae Seo, who would break league records and win CIF and Masters Meet titles — who forged ahead to a stellar second-place finish a the CIF championships.

For Falcons athletics as a whole, it was a season to remember. What follows is just a sampling of the many highlights:

Sept. 11, 2009 — Just 55 seconds into the season, Crescenta Valley linebacker Kevin Rignot picks up a Verdugo Hills fumble and strides 26 yards for the first score in a 48-8 nonleague thumping for the Falcons. Harry Pessy adds three total touchdowns, including a 90-yard kick return.

Sept. 22, 2009 — In a Pacific League match, the girls' golf team, which sees Katie Park shoot a three-over-par 40, Amy Park card a 48 and Sally Chun notch a 49, falls to fourth place, a spot in will remain in for the rest of the season.

Off to a sluggish 2-4 start, the boys' water polo team, which won a CIF title the year prior, bounces back against Pasadena Poly with an 11-9 win as Alan Dearman scores six goals and Matt Peters adds two scores, four steals and three assists.

Oct. 10, 2009 — After having its streak of 14 straight Pacific League meets broken, the Falcons girls' cross-country team rebounds at the Staub Invitational and, in particular, on this day, as they win the Division I Varsity race at the Clovis Invitational. A fifth-place finish by Claudia Pham in 18 minutes 52 seconds leads the way.

Oct. 13, 2009 — Team defense keys the way to a 15-9 boys' water polo win against Hoover and standout Hakop Kaplanyan.

Oct. 22, 2009 — The girls' tennis team essentially clinches second place with an 11-7 win over Burbank on the strength of a singles sweep by Erin LeVoir and a doubles sweep by Ani Ebrahamian and Audri Pardo.

Despite having a subpar season, Muir still gives the Falcons football team all it can handle, but the Falcons hold on thanks to three first-half rushing touchdowns.

"The first half was amazing," says quarterback Kyle Cota, who had a team-high 54 yards rushing and a score in 17 carries and completed nine of 15 passes for 71 yards. "Coming into the second half, I was afraid we would get too overconfident. ...We got too overconfident and too relaxed."

In its developing tradition, the girls' volleyball team raises money for breast cancer in its "Dig for a Cure" match against Burbank. The Falcons are swept, but raising money and awareness is at the forefront.

"They say one in eight women will be affected by breast cancer, so just on my team that means one of my girls will get breast cancer in their lifetime," says Crescenta Valley Coach Jennifer Ryan, who initiated the Falcons' involvement in the nationwide program the previous season, inspired partly by a former player whose aunt died of breast cancer and her own grandmother, who is a survivor of the disease. "It's something that they need to be aware of. Hopefully in their lifetime, maybe a cure will be found."

Oct. 27, 2009 — After receiving an exemption into the Pacific League finals, Katie Park makes the most of her chances by advancing to the CIF individuals with a seven-over-par 80. A day earlier, CV's team fate as a fourth-place finisher was locked up, preventing it from moving into the postseason.

Nov. 3, 2009 — At the CIF Southern Section Northern Individual Regional for the third straight season, Park moves on, tying for 25th with a four-over-par 76 in Ojai.

"She played well because she started to hit the ball well," says Coach Ken Johnson, who would step down from the program at season's end, opening the door for successor Lee Pope. "It was just about her being calm and in control of her swing.

"She had a determined look in that she felt like she could pull it off to advance."

Nov. 4, 2009 — Pardo and Ebrahamian rally for a 7-5, 7-5 victory after falling behind 4-1 in each set against third-seeded Elizabeth Lieu and Michelle Zhu of Arcadia in the semifinal round of the Pacific League finals.

"In 15 years, they're the best competitors I've ever coached," says Crescenta Valley Coach Tom Gossard. "What Ani and Audri have that a lot of girls don't is that they're athletes and good athletes usually know how to compete. They played incredibly smart tennis against Arcadia."

Ebrahamian and Pardo would fall in the finals, but still advanced to the CIF Individuals.

Nov. 5, 2009 — With a win in the Pacific League finals hanging in the balance, the boys' water polo team rallies to force overtime and defeats Glendale, 14-12. Martin Rivera scores four goals, three of them coming in overtime to fend off the Nitros.

Having split the previous two league meets, Crescenta Valley and Arcadia's girls' cross-country came down to the league finals at Griffith Park to decide the league champ.

Falcons frontrunner Claudia Pham is out with an injury, but the entire team steps up and retains the league title, as Brooke Moultrie runs to a second-place finish and Eliza Collison runs arguably her finest race ever, taking 10th overall, with Cali King finishing fifth, Anneke Kakebeen taking 11th and Ali Johnson garnering 12th.

"I thought we could squeak by without [Pham] and we did," says Coach Mark Evans. "It gave the other girls a chance to step up.

"If we ran the way we were capable of running, I saw us winning it."

On the boys' side, CV finishes fourth, led by Mike Duncan's ninth-place mark.

Nov. 10, 2009 — The girls' volleyball team falls in a valiant playoff effort, losing to host South Hills in the first round of the CIF Division II-AA playoffs, 25-23, 25-23, 26-24.

"Our passing and our defense were really on," says Ryan, whose team ends its season at 15-10-1. "We got a lot of balls up on defense, which allowed us to keep playing and we just kept swinging and actually blocked some balls.

"It was just a fun game to watch tonight."

Julia Adams leads a balanced effort with 13 kills and 12 digs, while Leah Gagliardi has nine kills and 12 digs.

The match also marks the last for Ryan, who later steps down after a lengthy and successful tenure.

Nov. 12, 2009 — Park's stellar CV career comes to a close as she ties for 60th place at the CIF Individual Final and Women's Southern California Golf Assn. qualifying tournament, shooting a 10-over-par 82.

The boys' water polo team begins defense of its CIF title with a 17-4 rout of Oxnard. Alan Dearman leads the Falcons with six goals, four assists and three steals.

"We were expecting to come out and play a good game, but it was a little different than we expected," says Dearman of the lopsided nature of the match, which sees the Falcons claim a 14-1 halftime lead. "We're real excited that's how it turned out."

Despite a 6-3, 6-0, 6-0 sweep from LeVoir, the girls' tennis team falls to Los Alamitos, 11-7, in the opening round of the Division I playoffs, ending its season at 16-3.

The match is especially significant as it stands as the last match for Gossard in his illustrious Falcons coaching career, which saw nine Pacific League titles and a semifinal postseason run.

"I've had 15 great years," says Gossard, who went 142-14 in Pacific League play. "I loved it."

Running back Harry Pessy scorches archrival Arcadia for 244 yards and three touchdowns in the football team's 42-13 Pacific League finale win.

Nov. 14, 2009 — A six-year streak of CIF finals appearances comes to an end for the girls' cross-country team at the prelims at Mount San Antonio College. Needing a top-four finish in their heat, the girls take fifth. The Falcons boys also fail to move on, finishing 11th in their heat, led by Duncan.

Nov. 15, 2009 — Against familiar foe Pasadena Poly, the boys' water polo team prevails, 12-6, in the CIF quarterfinals on the strength of four Dearman goals and 12 Rane Colvin saves.

Nov. 18, 2009 — A repeat as the CIF Southern Section Division VI champions isn't to be for the boys' water polo team, which falls to rival Rio Mesa, 10-6. It's the same Rio Mesa team that CV defeated in the previous season's final.

"We didn't play our best," says CV's hole/set Chris Veselich, who scored two goals. "In our earlier playoff games, we've showed the team we can be and today we didn't show that."

Peters adds three goals for a Falcons squad that finishes with a 20-9 record.

Nov. 20, 2009 — League runners-up Ebrahimian and Pardo make a spectacular run to the third round of CIF Individual play, becoming the first Falcons duo to do so since 2003. They open with a 6-2, 6-3 sweep before a hard-fought 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) straight set win. The third match was against the top seed and resulted in a 6-0, 6-1 loss.

The football team gets a 24-yard field goal from kicker Arian Abghari with 9:58 left in the game and a last-minute interception from Dai Dai McFadden seals the deal in a 27-24 victory against Santa Fe in a CIF Southern Section Southeast Division first-round game.

Nov. 27, 2009 — Five turnovers spell the end of the Falcons' football team's season, as it falls at home against second-seeded South Hills, 33-23, in the second round of the playoffs.

"You can't make that number of mistakes that we made and expect things to go your way," Falcons Coach Tony Zarrillo says. "You can't do what we did and expect to win a game of this magnitude."

It marks Zarrillo's final game coaching, as he steps down after the 8-4 season and is later replaced by defensive coordinator Paul Schilling.

Jan. 7, 2010 — A changing of the guard is confirmed, as the girls' water polo team, led by four goals from Christine Cho, easily defeats defending champion Burbank, 13-7, in a Pacific League match.

Jan. 30 — Totaling 24 goals in five matches, Kim Fraisse leads the girls' water polo team to the Onxard Tournament title, as the Falcons beat Lompoc Cabrillo, 9-4. Fraisse is named MVP, while Sofie Munoz garners 12 saves in the title win.

Feb. 1 — For the first time since 2004, the girls' basketball team defeats Muir, 61-50, as Cassie Pappas tallies a game-high 22 points. The win puts CV into a first-place tie, but they eventually finish second.

Feb. 9 — Coltrane Powdrill leads all scorers with 20 points as the boys' basketball team defeats Burbank, 60-54, in a win that forces a tie for second in league, which stands until season's end.

Feb. 11 — Fraisse scores seven goals to put her at 120 on the season, breaking the previous school-record of 116 and, in the process, leading the girls' water polo team to a 12-7 win over Pasadena in the Pacific League tournament championship.

"I feel amazing right now," she says. "All our hard work has finally paid off with a league title."

Feb. 12 — Mired in a five-game winless streak, the boys' soccer team finds solace in last-place Burbank, as Pavle Atanackovic scores two goals to lead a 6-0 onslaught that clinches the program's first-ever Pacific League title.

"It's a different feeling and one that might sink in later," says Gor Grigoryan. "It's our first time to win league and I'm proud of the players and our coaches.

"We wrote on a piece of paper before the season that one of our goals was to win league. If you can put your mind to it, then anything can happen."

Needing nothing less than a win on the final day of the season to repeat as league champions, the girls' soccer team gets just that, as Danny Cardenas boots in a perfectly placed free kick and Dani Busta drops in a 50-yard score for a 2-0 win over Burbank to clinch league.

"This game was everything," Cardenas says, "we had to fight to win league and we gave it everything we got."

Feb. 17 — For the first time since 2002, the boys' basketball team advances past the first round as it bests San Gorgonio, 63-37, on the strength of Nick Dragovich's 17 points and Powdrill's 10 points and 13 boards.

Feb. 18 — A string of seven unanswered goals in the fourth quarter leads the girls' water polo squad to a 15-5 win against Monrovia in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division IV playoffs. Fraisse and Julia Warden tally five and four goals, respectively. But the quarterfinal round isn't as kind to the Falcons, who fall in overtime, 9-8, to host Lompoc Cabrillo after they're held scoreless for the final 11 minutes of the match.

"It was a phenomenal playoff game from both teams," says Falcons Coach Pete Loporchio, whose team finished at 26-4 and is later rewarded with five All-CIF accolades, as Fraisse, Munoz, Cho, Adrienne Ingalla and Warden are all named to the team.

A nightmarish four-goal second half by Laguna Hills leads to a 5-2 loss for the boys' soccer team in the opening round of the Division IV playoffs. The Falcons end their season at 10-8-3.

Facing a Valencia squad that had previously handed it two playoff losses in seasons past, the girls' basketball team gets some revenge with a 53-48 CIF Division I-A first-round win.

"We've been bumped out [of the playoffs] in the first round every year that I've played here except for last year," says Pappas, who scores 24 points in addition to Ebrahamian's 11 points, eight coming in the fourth quarter. "It made it that much better to beat them now."

Feb. 19 — Thirteen points by Powdrill and 12 by Dragovich key a huge comeback as the boys' basketball team battles back from a huge 18-point deficit in the first quarter. But the comeback's not to be as the Falcons lose in the second round to Tesoro, 58-55.

"It's one of those ones where you could taste it," says Falcons Coach Shawn Zargarian, whose team finishes its year at 20-8.

Sierra Rhoads and Mea Zuiderveen score goals in the girls' soccer team's 2-0 CIF Division II first-round playoff win over Knight that's a little closer than hoped for the fourth-seeded Falcons.

Feb. 20 — A game-high 30 points by Pappas and a huge contribution by Melanie Samvalian of 12 points and 12 rebounds leads the girls' basketball team past Martin Luther King, 60-52, in the CIF second round and into the quarterfinals

Feb. 24 — A historically successful season and the brilliant career of Pappas come to an end with the girls' basketball team's 67-51 loss to Ayala. In her final game, Pappas tallies 31 points as her team finishes with a 24-6 record during a season in which it took second place in league.

The offensive troubles that had plagued it all season finally stop the girls' soccer team as it ends its year at 16-2-3 after a CIF Division II second-round loss to Corona del Mar, 1-0. The game also marks Coach Reggie Rivas' last on the sidelines, as he steps down and Jordan Schulz takes over.

March 4 — Dro Mahmoudi sweeps 7-6 (8-6), 6-1, 6-1 in singles to lead the tennis team to an 11-7 win in the team's league opener over Glendale. The win serves as a starting point to the Falcons improving to a third-place finish over recent fourth-place marks in which Glendale was always in front of them.

March 9 — In its annual meet, the swimming teams square off with Hart. The boys take a resounding 114-56 victory, while the girls fall short in a 140-40 loss. While the boys' team wins all the events, the girls' team loses all of them. Josh Chi, Harrison Thai and Young Tae Seo are all double-winners.

March 17 — Michael Timpson wins the Burbank High Schools' Invitational at De Bell Golf Course, shooting a five-under-par 66.

April 1 — While many who anticipated a rebuilding year for the softball team were proved right, the Falcons certainly didn't go without a fight in an 8-7 softball loss to Burbank that took 10 innings and more than three hours to complete.

"It was a battle for sure," says Alyssa Sovereign, who went four for five with a walk, a stolen base, an RBI and a run. "I felt like we had the game almost over and then I felt like we let it get away.

"And then we came back and then they kept coming back."

April 6 — The Babe Herman Tournament makes its long-awaited return and the baseball team defeats Mayfair, 1-0, in its opener at Stengel Field.

Pitcher Troy Mulcahey is at his best as he throws a two-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts to one walk.

"Troy pitched really [well]," says Falcon Joe Sedano, who knocked in the game's only run. "He made the one stand up."

April 15 — Timpson shoots a two-under-par 69 to grab medalist honors at the second Pacific League match of the season, but Crescenta Valley only takes third out of four teams.

April 22 — In a Pacific League home dual meet against Hoover, the boys' track and field team cruises to an 88-39 win and the girls' squad earns a 108-19 victory.

In the boys' competition, Crescenta Valley receives two wins apiece from Duncan, Bryan Yaung, James Maturan and Nick Psaltis.

In the girls' portion of the competition, Crescenta Valley gets two wins apiece from Samvalian and King.

April 23 — The boys' volleyball team takes down rival Arcadia on the road, 25-23, 27-25, 15-25, 25-16.

May 5 — Timpson takes home the Pacific League individual golf championship, as he shoots a one-over-par 72 to finish with a two-day 144 at the De Bell Golf Club.

He edges out Arcadia's Richard Jeong by one stroke for the title a day after helping the Falcons secure second place in the league standings at the league prelims.

"It was a real battle," Timpson says.

Having lost to both Burbank and Burroughs during the first round of Pacific League play, the softball team reaffirms itself as the top team in league, despite the standings, with a 3-1 win over eventual champion Burroughs.

A two-out, sixth-inning single by Sydney House scores Sovereign and Allison Lacey to key the win, along with Erin Ashby, the eventual All-Area Softball Player of the Year, tossing seven innings of three-hit ball and striking out nine. The win is the Falcons' eighth in a row as they are in the midst of a 10-game win streak that they will end the regular season on, which includes avenging another earlier loss to Burbank.

May 6 — The boys' and girls' swim teams clinch outright Pacific League titles at the league championships.

Seo, the eventual All-Area Boys' Swimmer of the Year, and Thai are double-winners. Seo wins the 200-yard freestyle in 1 minute 41.94 seconds and breaks his own league record in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:32.17. Thai wins the 100 backstroke in 52.92 and sets the league record in the 100 breaststroke in 1:00.78.

Other league titles are had by Andrew De Jong in the 200 IM, Veselich in the 50 free and Chi in the 100 free.

The boys also win two relay titles, while the girls' team of Warden, Sabrina Hatzer, Robin Yi and Ingalla team up for a 200-medley relay title. Yi also takes second in the 200 IM and Ingalla is second in the 100 breast.

May 7 — Jessica Beerman sprints her way to a pair of Pacific League track and field titles at Glendale High's Moyse Field. Beerman has little difficulty winning the 100-meter in 12.30 seconds and the 200 in 25.96.

Tiernan Hebron takes the 400 in 59.62 and later teams with Stacy Carlos, King and Carli Opland to win the 4x400 relay in 4:03.70.

Samvalian captures the shot put in 37 feet 10 1/2 inches.

Andrew Roide of Crescenta Valley wins the high jump in 6-6.

May 10 — The golf team concludes its season with a 13th-place showing at the CIF Southern Section Northern Team Divisional in Ojai. The team shoots a 417 total, led by Timpson's 77.

•May 11 — The boys' volleyball team jumps out to an early lead against Anaheim Canyon in the first round of the CIF Division II playoffs, but can't hang on in a 25-27, 25-22, 25-10, 25-19 season-ending loss.

"The first game we played pretty good," says Crescenta Valley Coach John Nelson, whose squad ends the year on a four-match losing streak going back to its last three of the regular season and concludes with a 16-13 record. "Our level of play went down each game, I don't think it was that they did anything different."

Nate Rousey defeats Burbank for the second time in the season and puts the baseball team in a virtual lock for second place as he goes the distance, allowing one run and four hits in his team's 8-1 win. Mulcahey and Elliott Surrey combine for seven runs batted in and each have four hits.

•May 12 — The boys' tennis team is dealt a 12-6 loss by Villa Park in the first round of the Division II playoffs, ending the Falcons' season with an 11-7 record.

May 15 — At the CIF Southern Section Division I track and field prelims at Trabuco Hills High, three members turn in solid marks to move on to the finals. King clocks 5 minutes 8.72 seconds in the 1,600-meter run. Pham has a personal-best mark of 11:14.69 in the 3,200. Samvalian has a personal-best mark of 38 feet 3 1/2 inches in the shot put.

May 15 — The boys' swimming team surges to a second-place showing in the CIF Southern Section Division II finals in Long Beach, tallying 191 points to Oaks Christian's 278.

"The competitive spirit they had today, they've had the whole season, and watching them just rise up to the occasion and put their best efforts in, it was just inspiring," Crescenta Valley Coach Jan Sakonju says. "Everybody put in a very strong day, I don't think there were any regrets."

Leading the way, Seo wins a CIF championship in the 200 IM, while Thai takes second in the 100 breaststroke and third in the backstroke. Seo also takes second in the 500, while a flock of other Falcons provide valuable points, particularly in the relay events, keyed by Veselich, who takes part in all three relays.

May 17 — Timpson triple-bogeys his final hole and misses the cut by two strokes at the CIF Southern Section Northern Individual Regional in Oxnard.

Timpson's four-over-par 76 is a solid score, but good enough only for a seven-way tie for 38th.

"He certainly should have been moving on," says Falcons Coach John Pehar. "It's disappointing that one shot can knock you out like that, but that's the way it goes.

May 18 — Seo puts a cap on an unbelievable freshman season, as he wins two Masters Meet titles, claiming the 200-yard individual medley in 1:50.71 and adding the 500 crown, in 4:32.91, to the day.

"He's so competitive, it's just fun watching him when he's down here in this environment," Sakonju says.

Thai, Seo, Veselich and De Jong, who is filling in for Jason Kim in the breaststroke, record the second-best overall mark in the 200-yard medley relay in 1:36.59. Thai turns in the fourth-best performance in the 100 backstroke in 52.18, but takes 15th in the 100 breaststroke in 1:00.15. Chi is 16th in the 200 freestyle in 1:45.47 and has the 18th-best mark (48.08) in the 100 freestyle, where Veselich has the 20th-best mark (48.20). The Falcons' 200-freestyle relay team of Veselich, De Jong, Daniel Olson and Chi ties for eighth.

In the wild-card round of the Division II playoffs, the baseball team is no match for Northwood starter Zack Weiss in a 9-1 loss that ends the Falcons' season, in which they took second in league, at 19-7.

May 20 — The softball team sees its season come to an end, and an abrupt one at least in comparison to prior seasons, as Colton bests the Falcons, 6-3, in the opening round of the Division III playoffs.

"It just didn't fall our way today," says Allison Lacey, who tallies two hits, including a first-inning home run that doesn't hold up in a back-and-forth battle that ends with an 18-9 season.

May 22 — Samvalian rises to the occasion once again at the CIF Southern Section Division I final at Cerritos College in Norwalk. Samvalian, the reigning All-Area Girls' Track and Field Athlete of the Year, places fourth with a personal-best and school-record mark of 38 feet 6 inches.

"With winning league, it was kind of a piece of cake," Samvalian says. "Once I got to CIF, I knew that I would be competing against a bunch of great throwers."

Pham records a personal record in the Division I 3,200 with an eighth-place time of 11:05.55. King finishes eighth in 5:29.76 in the Division I 1,600.

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World