SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — All it took was a pep talk from Crescenta Valley High girls' soccer Coach Jorden Schulz to turn a one-goal lead into a blowout victory over Glendale High Tuesday.
The Falcons scored early in both teams' Pacific League opener, but the Nitros' defense held strong early and kept CV off the board the rest of the half.
Schulz said the game started out slower than her team's liking as Glendale dropped all but one or two players back defensively in an effort to shut down CV's offense.
"We knew they were going to play us like that," Schulz said. "I told the girls at halftime that they had to take control and dictate the flow of the game, not sit back and wait for it to come to them."
Crescenta Valley took those words to heart and scored three goals in the second half to walk away with a 4-0 victory over the Nitros Tuesday, as the Falcons began defense of their league title in a quest to win a fourth in a row.
The reason for the offensive explosion in the second half was simple.
"Jorden gave us a little pep talk at halftime," said Crescenta Valley's Jacque Phinney, explaining the difference between the first and second half.
Glendale Coach Victor Aquino was pleased with the Nitros' performance in the first half, but knew they were in for a challenge against the Falcons (3-3).
"We lack experience compared to most of their team," Aquino said. "It was a good first half, holding the defending champs to 1-0 is pretty good. In that second half we lost in our marking, but because we're such a young team I am OK with the score."
The score would've been more lopsided if not for Glendale goalkeeper Ashley Hermosillo.
"She's always amazing, she saves us," Aquino said of his sophomore standout. "If it wasn't for her the score would have been a lot different. She is one of those pieces that keeps us together."
Hermosillo had 11 saves in the game. Her performance didn't go unnoticed by either coach.
"They have a great goalie that kept them in the game early," Schulz said. "She had a lot of saves and a lot of good saves. She was coming out a lot and cutting off passes and doing everything she could."
Schulz' goalie wasn't tested the entire game, as Glendale (1-4-2, 0-1 in league) didn't manage a shot in the contest, while the Falcons had 24 shots, with 15 on goal.
The scoring started early, as the Falcons' Mallory Carcich chipped a ball over Glendale's back line to an unmarked Phinney, who buried a goal to put her team up, 1-0, eight minutes into the game.
"I was watching to make sure I was onside and the pass was beautiful, right over the defense," Phinney said.
The next Crescenta Valley goal came five minutes into the second half off a corner kick. CV's Olivia Bird whipped a ball into the box off the set piece and the Falcons' Whitley Boller headed it into the net for a 2-0 lead.
In the 62nd minute, Crescenta Valley's Mea Zuiderveen took possession of the ball at the top of Glendale's box on a Nitros turnover and bent a shot past a diving Hermosillo to put CV up, 3-0. Five minutes later, the Falcons' Karina Costilla capped the scoring.