WALNUT — With each defensive stop in the fourth quarter, the Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo team could see itself getting closer to a place it hadn't been for nearly a decade — the semifinals.
The Falcons closely followed the plan by forcing their opponents to take perimeter shots. Crescenta Valley was rewarded for its effort.
Crescenta Valley received four goals from Kim Fraisse and allowed one goal in the fourth quarter to earn an 8-5 win against Walnut on Friday afternoon in a CIF Southern Section Division V quarterfinal match at Mount San Antonio College.
"I'm happy with what we did defensively," said Crescenta Valley Coach Pete Loporchio, whose team won the Pacific League championship and began the postseason Wednesday with a 16-6 win against Yucaipa. "That's been our trademark and [we] got the right matchups."
The third-seeded Falcons (27-3) will face second-seeded Temescal Canyon or Los Altos in a semifinal match at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Mt. SAC. It will mark the Falcons' first appearance in a semifinal match since 2002. It was the sixth straight time the Falcons had reached the quarterfinals.
"I've got the proverbial monkey off my back," Loporchio said.
The Falcons led throughout the entire match and never let Walnut (16-12) get closer than two goals in the second half.
Fraisse, the reigning All-Area Player of the Year, and the Falcons limited Walnut, which captured the Division VI crown last season, to only a handful of shots from the perimeter in the fourth quarter. Walnut didn't score on its first six possessions in the final stanza.
"We've definitely worked hard to get here," Fraisse said. "Now, we go to the next level.
"We had the two-goal leads and we weren't as nervous. We are definitely proud and it shows our practices have paid off."
Fraisse scored a pair of goals late in the first quarter to give Crescenta Valley a 2-0 lead. Sabrina Hatzer and Breanna Lawton each scored one goal in the second quarter to help the Falcons build a 4-2 halftime advantage.
Fraisse made it 5-2 on a five-meter shot with 6:11 left in the third quarter before Christine Cho tallied a score during a man-advantage situation to make it 6-3 with 1:49 left in the quarter.
Cho and Fraisse scored once each in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 8-4.
Walnut, which finished third in the Hacienda League, received two goals apiece from Stephanie Tuncel and Samantha Lepp.
Now, the Falcons will look to move a step closer to winning the program's first CIF championship.
"We keep working better together," Fraisse said.