LA CRESCENTA — The Crescenta Valley High boys' soccer team would like to prove something for the remainder of the season — that it's capable of playing a complete match.
In the first month of the season, the Falcons have developed a pattern where they've struggled in the first half before regrouping in the second half.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Falcons wasted little time proving they could virtually dominate an entire match.
Crescenta Valley got a goal apiece from Erick Trejo and Vahe Nalbandian in the first two minutes to record a 3-0 Pacific League home win against rival Hoover.
Crescenta Valley second-year Coach Kiel McClung, who guided the Falcons to the program's first league championship last season, couldn't have scripted a better start.
"I think one of the things that we have struggled with this year is our first-half performances," said McClung, who also received a second-half goal from Pavle Atanackovic that helped the Falcons improve to 4-2-3 and 2-0-1 in league. "We've come out sluggish in the first half a lot and then played well in the second half.
"We stressed coming into [Tuesday's game] that we wanted to get out early."
It didn't take long for the Falcons to receive McClung's message. In fact, it took only 25 seconds.
Trejo beat Hoover goalkeeper Tadeh Zaghian with a shot in the upper right-hand corner to make it 1-0. Crescenta Valley then made it 2-0 when Nalbandian scored on a 40-yard free kick in the second minute.
Hoover Coach Kevin Cadenas didn't expect a slow start from the Tornadoes (2-3, 1-2).
"The two goals early turned out to cost us," said Cadenas, who led the Tornadoes to a playoff appearance last season. "CV came out strong and ready to play and they came out with a lot of passion.
"We have no leadership [on defense] and we definitely need more leadership. It's just one game, but it's a loss that hurts."
Hoover had a couple of quality scoring chances midway through the first half, but couldn't convert. Crescenta Valley goalkeeper Nick Ruiz stopped Romel Sarkisloo on a point-blank shot in the 21st minute and Sarkis Tumasyan fired a shot just wide of the left post in the 23rd minute.
"I'm impressed with the way our defense played," McClung said. "Kudos to the way they played.
"Hoover's got a good team and we won most of the individual battles. When we got that 2-0 lead, that gave us even more confidence and helped set the tone for the rest of the game."
Atanackovic closed out the scoring in the 45th minute.
Cadenas said there's time for the Tornadoes to respond before meeting Crescenta Valley at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at Hoover.
"I'm hoping that we do mature," said Cadenas, who got 11 saves from Zaghian. "We want to play better until we play them and definitely give them a better game."