Lightning strikes first in rivalry match

LA CRESCENTA — A downpour wasn't going to cancel the annual cross-town rivalry game between the Crescenta Valley and La Cañada high girls' soccer teams, but lightning was a different story.

The nonleague game Thursday between the Falcons and Spartans at Crescenta Valley High was called off less than nine minutes into the action as lightning started flashing nearby. Referees suspended the action for 20 minutes to see if the lightning would clear up before making a decision.

Crescenta Valley Coach Jorden Schulz conferred with La Cañada Coach Louie Bilowitz and both agreed to postpone the game to sometime next week since Crescenta Valley's field doesn't have lights.

"By the time the game is over we'd be playing in the dark," Schulz said. "If we had lights we'd wait, but since we don't there's no point in waiting to play in the dark. Hopefully next week it clears up and we can play."

Postponing the game was in everyone's safety, Schulz said.

"On any turf field, there is a huge metal plate under the turf," Schulz said. "It's scary to be out there and just stupid."

Canceling the cross-town rivalry game altogether never really crossed Schulz or Bilowitz' mind.

"We enjoy [the La Cañada game] and always look forward to it," Schulz said. "It's always a good game because we like each other, but we don't like each other. It's interesting because it's a cross-town rivalry but we're not in the same league.

"We only play each other once a year. It's always a big preseason game that everybody looks forward to."

Bilowitz said the game is a good measuring stick for his squad because many of the Falcons (2-3) play club soccer together all year, unlike his Spartans (6-1).

"It's a good challenge for us and we get stronger by playing them," Bilowitz said. "They always have good coaching and good girls. They play clean, good soccer. They are one of the teams I love playing against because they are a good team and play with a lot of class."

Crescenta Valley looked good in the few minutes of soccer that were played Thursday, creating five shots and three on goal early on.

"Rain is always a equalizer," Schulz said. "It always makes good teams less good and creates havoc. I think we were dealing with it well in the first few minutes so hopefully it would have turned out well, but who knows?"

The rescheduled game will serve as Crescenta Valley's final game before the Pacific League season as it will hit the road to take on Glendale at 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 3. It will be La Cañada's second game next week as it also plays at Burroughs at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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