Three punch playoff tickets

GLENDALE — Five local high school boys' soccer teams entered the season looking to qualify for the CIF Southern Section playoffs. Three of them met that objective.

Now, Crescenta Valley High, St. Francis and Glendale will seek a higher ground — a CIF championship.

Crescenta Valley, St. Francis and Glendale will be a part of the playoff focus after the CIF office unveiled its playoff pairings Monday afternoon.

Glendale earned a wild-card match, while St. Francis and Crescenta Valley will wait until Friday to begin their respective playoff runs with first-round tilts.

Glendale, which finished 9-2-8 and 6-2-6 in the Pacific League for third place behind Crescenta Valley and Burroughs, will face visiting Culver City in a Division IV wild-card match at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at Moyse Field. Culver City went 8-13-2, 5-5 in the Ocean League for third place.

The winner will meet host Bonita, which went 15-4-5, 9-2-1 for first place in the Hacienda League, on Friday in a first-round match.

Glendale and Culver City are familiar with each other. The teams battled to a 2-2 tie Dec. 4 at Culver City.

"We have got to be able to move the ball against Culver City because they are good and physical," said Glendale Coach Tulio Marroquin, who added that standout senior striker Levon Sargsyan will likely miss the match while recovering from a left-ankle injury he sustained against Crescenta Valley on Feb. 8. "We have the firepower, but we need some more of our guys playing to their potential."

St. Francis placed second in the Mission League behind third-seeded Loyola and will start its playoff run with a first-round home match at 3 p.m. Friday against Thousand Oaks at Friedman Field. The Golden Knights went 13-9, 9-3 in league, while the Lancers went 9-5-4, 8-2-4 in the Marmonte League for second place behind Agoura.

St. Francis Coach Glen Appels, who guided the Golden Knights to three CIF titles between 1996-2003, said Thousand Oaks will be a good test.

"That's a good team and all of the teams in our division are good," Appels said. "We've been as healthy as we've been all season and we've been in the kind of physical shape that we want to be.

"We seem to have a long history of playing [playoff matches] against Marmonte League teams and we have an idea of their style of play."

The winner of the St. Francis-Thousand Oaks matchup will meet fourth-seeded Ventura, Bell Gardens or Fountain Valley in a second-round contest Feb. 23. Ventura went 18-5-2, 6-1-1 to win the Channel League crown. Bell Gardens is 9-9-4, 6-4 for third place in the Almont League and Fountain Valley is 11-8, 4-6 for fourth in the Sunset League.

Crescenta Valley had little difficulty winning its second Pacific League championship in a row. The Falcons went 13-2-5, 11-0-3 in league and won their final seven league matches.

Crescenta Valley second-year Coach Kiel McClung and the Falcons must wait until Wednesday to find out who they will meet in a Division IV first-round home match Friday. The Falcons will take on the winner of a wild-card match between La Salle or Diamond Bar on Wednesday. Diamond Bar is 12-7-3, 6-5-1 in the Hacienda League for third place and La Salle is 17-4, 4-4 in the Del Rey League for third place.

McClung said the Falcons will look to carry over their winning ways into the postseason.

"We are excited to be back in the playoffs and we have the momentum now," said McClung, who will scout the La Salle-Diamond Bar match. "We will be at home and we hope that will help.

"I don't know much about either of those teams and you always look to know a little something to get you prepared."

The winner will battle La Mirada or North Torrance in a second-round match Feb. 23. La Mirada is 10-6-7, 6-4-2 for third in the Suburban League. North Torrance went 12-4-7, 8-0-2 to win the Pioneer League championship.

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