LA CRESCENTA — Coming off a subpar showing against host Burroughs High on Monday, the Crescenta Valley High's girls' soccer team was running and running some more at practice on Tuesday.
"It wasn't fun, but we deserved it," said Falcons senior captain Mallory Carcich. "The effort just wasn't there [on Monday]."
Thus, when Hoover came to play on Wednesday, an energized Crescenta Valley was shooting and shooting some more with renewed energy and focus en route to a 4-0 Pacific League win over the Tornadoes.
"We're getting there," said Falcons Coach Jorden Schulz, whose team outshot Hoover by an astounding 38-3 margin two days after tying Burroughs, 1-1. "I think that it could've been 12-0 had we shot the ball better."
Nonetheless, when all was said and done, the Falcons (5-3-1, 3-0-1) shot plenty well enough to notch a lopsided win over Hoover (3-4, 1-3) and keep pace with the rest of the league hierarchy, as Crescenta Valley is tied for first with Arcadia and Pasadena, as the duo tied, 1-1, on Wednesday.
As has been characteristic of the Falcons this season, particularly in league play, the scoring came from a wealth of players, with Karina Costilla scoring in the 29th minute, Sharon Lee scoring in the 34th, Jacque Phinney scoring in the 58th and Carcich concluding the scoring in the 68th minute.
"We don't really have an innate goal scorer, so we have to use everybody," Schulz said. "It should be that way."
Early on, though, it was frustrating for the Falcons, who reeled off 12 shots before lucky No. 13 by Costilla found rest at the back of the Hoover net. Much of the Falcons' frustrations came at the work of Hoover goalie Yvonne Cruz.
"She's phenomenal," Hoover Coach Donal Kennedy said. "She's grown leaps and bounds, she's matured as a goalkeeper."
The mohawked Cruz' aggression saved the day on many an occasion as she was aggressive in tracking down crosses, corner kicks and balls played in front of the net. In all, she tallied 15 saves, with 10 in the second half.
"She kept them in the game," Schulz said.
Cruz was also the start of Hoover's best offensive opportunity. After making a first-half save, her clearing kick found forward Jordan Miller, who got a step behind the defense and raced in to make a shot that Falcons goalie Dani Burford dived to save. Quickly, however, CV countered, with Sarah Worden speeding past the Hoover defense and creating a one-on-one chance that was stopped by a kick save from Cruz only to see Lee have a shot on an empty net hit the post.
"It's really frustrating sitting in the back and watching it not go in," Carcich said.
The early missed opportunities forced Schulz to make some changes. While the defense, highlighted throughout the game by Carcich, Worden, Jessi Magallon and Olivia Bird, was borderline impenetrable, it wasn't getting much work, either. So Schulz used Worden, in the first half, and Carcich, in the second, to infuse some energy up top.
"[Schulz] likes when different players go up and it gets the energy going," Carcich said.
Worden's move clearly paid dividends, eventually leading to the first score, when she had a shot deflect forward, leaving an opening for Costilla to run on and boot in.
Five minutes later, Lee had a point-blank shot saved, but booted in the rebound.
In the second half, Phinney took a pass from Grace Keller and streaked up the left sideline before putting her foot to a shot from roughly 20 yards out on the wing that found the net.
Carcich got a splendid cross-field pass from Mea Zuiderveen that led her to a breakaway. Facing Cruz to the right, Carcich calmly crossed a low shot left that rolled inside of the far post.
For the Tornadoes, it was the continuation of a bad week, as they fell to Arcadia, 7-0, on Monday, but it also looks to be the continuation of an improved squad, all together.
"The miracle isn't gonna happen over night," said Kennedy, whose team lost to the same Burroughs team that tied CV by a 1-0 tally earlier this season. "It's a project and the kids are coming together a bit."
While Hoover prepares to face Burbank on Friday, Crescenta Valley is set for a first-place showdown when it hosts Pasadena on Friday at 3:15 p.m. The Bulldogs' top scorer, Amanda Speks, is questionable for the game after missing both of her team's games so far this week. Meanwhile, All-Area and All-CIF defender Dani Busta is also on the mend and questionable for CV.
"Pasadena's been getting better and better," Schulz said. "I'm anticipating them being very good."