LA CRESCENTA — This time, the members of the Crescenta Valley High boys' soccer team took care of business the way they expected to.
That stemmed largely from a valuable lesson they learned last season, when they encountered an elongated slump before wrapping up their first league title on the final day of the season. This season, the Falcons never showed similar signs and cruised to their second straight league championship.
Behind three goals from junior forward Pavle Atanackovic on Tuesday afternoon, Crescenta Valley picked up a 3-0 league home win against Glendale.
"We said before league began that we were only going to worry about ourselves," Atanackovic said. "In the second half of league, we wanted to beat the team we tied in the first half and we knew that we would be tough to beat.
"Everybody in league gave us their best shot, so it's great to win league again."
Crescenta Valley improved to 12-2-5, 10-0-3 in league for 33 points. Glendale dropped to 9-2-7, 6-2-5 for 23 points and is entrenched in third place. Burroughs (8-2-3 in league for 27 points posted a 2-2 tie against Hoover on Tuesday to wrap up second place. Muir picked up a 1-0 win against Arcadia to improve to 6-4-3 in league for 21 points.
Atanackovic, a reigning All-Area honoree, raised his goal total to a team-best 30 with one league home match left Thursday against rival Arcadia.
Crescenta Valley went into an 0-3-2 tailspin last season before wrapping up league with a 6-0 win against Burbank.
Crescenta Valley second-year Coach Kiel McClung said the Falcons sought to avoid that journey.
"I think we learned a lot from last season because we were so focused on the standings," said McClung, whose team recorded its sixth shutout this season. "This time around, we just focused on us every single game.
"Winning the league for the first time is the best. This one was great, too."
Glendale and Crescenta Valley swapped quality scoring opportunities throughout the first half of the match. The Falcons took a 1-0 lead when Atanackovic headed in a free kick by Alex Berger in the 37th minute.
Atanackovic made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute off a pass from Erick Trejo and he capped the scoring in the 75th minute off an assist from Eric Keshishian.
Glendale Coach Tulio Marroquin, who lost senior forward Levon Sargsyan to an apparent ankle injury, said the Nitros couldn't generate any momentum.
"We had some good chances and then they get a lucky bounce on the first goal," Marroquin said. "Pavle was opportunistic on that goal and they played a little better than us.
"We want to at least secure the third spot. We want to get at least one point Thursday against Hoover, or hopefully three. We worked hard and will look to turn it around."
The Falcons began the remainder of their season Tuesday without the services of forward Vahe Nalbandian. McClung said Nalbandian drew a season suspension as a result of his second red card of the year on Friday against Pasadena.