LA CRESCENTA — With its Pacific League destiny firmly in its grasp, the Crescenta Valley girls' soccer team stayed on course for a three-peat on Friday afternoon.
With the league often divided by a very clear line of haves and have-nots, Pasadena has been an overlooked squad that has presented a problem for quite a few unsuspecting league foes.
The Falcons impressively avoided any such trap, though, as Whitley Boller headed in a pair of goals and Jordan Royer added a score and an assist in a 4-0 Crescenta Valley win over Pasadena, putting the Falcons a victory away from a third straight league title.
"We don't want to be co-champs, we want to win it outright and the ball's in our court," Falcons first-year Coach Jorden Schulz said. "I personally think that Pasadena doesn't get the credit that they deserve. I think they're underrated. They're kind of a sleeper team."
With the win over the Bulldogs (6-4-4, 3-4-3 in league), the Falcons (11-3-4, 9-0-3 for 30 points) can wrap up an outright title with a win against Glendale on Tuesday, as Burbank (7-0-5 in league) and Burroughs (8-2-2) both trail with 26 points after wins on Friday.
"This game, I think we took the tempo, which is what we needed," said Schulz, whose team defeated Pasadena, 2-0, earlier in the season in a game in which Schulz said she thought the Bulldogs outplayed the Falcons.
That was hardly the case on Friday.
A brief scare early saw Pasadena assert itself and get off a shot in close that Allie Woodward sprawled to deflect for one of her two saves in the shutout.
The Falcons took the match's next 11 shots and turned the game for good in a three-minute span.
In the 10th minute, a brilliant Dani Busta free kick into the box was headed in by Boller.
"Whitley had a great goal," Schulz said. "That, I think, kind of popped [the Bulldogs'] balloon."
Boller was slow in getting up though, emerging with a bloodied lip.
"I headed it in and the goalie punched me," said Boller of the inadvertent contact that produced a tide-changing score. "It really motivated the team I think."
In the 12th minute, Royer booted in a 2-0 advantage off a Bri Ismale pass.
Pasadena had one more scare for CV to survive when Woodward could only get a fingertip on a 50-50 bounce and a Bulldog had a shot on an exposed net hit the football goalpost.
Any thoughts of a comeback were expunged when Royer curved a corner kick that was headed in by Boller in the 65th minute.
Claudia Sepulveda concluded the scoring in the final minute of play.
In all, the Falcons, unbeaten in 13 straight games, outshot Pasadena, 21-4, with the likes of Sierra Rhoads and Royer delivering a multitude of quality scoring chances.
On the other end, the backline of Busta, Savannah Rhoads, Sarah Worden and Mallory Carcich was stifling.
"We knew we couldn't take them lightly. Last time we played them, they put up a good fight and we had to win this game," Boller said. "Jorden said after the game we finally brought it and the results proved it."