SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — Dry field or wet, it doesn't seem to matter to the members of the Crescenta Valley High boys' soccer team. They'll deal with the conditions accordingly before finding a way to score.
After rain fell in the area part of Monday, leading to a slick playing surface at Glendale High's Moyse Field, the Falcons scored a season-best six goals in the first half to record a convincing 7-1 Pacific League win against Glendale.
"The field conditions don't matter to us because you still have to go out there and play," said Crescenta Valley forward Pavle Atanackovic, who scored three goals in the game's first 19 minutes and recorded his fourth hat trick of the season to raise his season goal total to 26. "We were able to move the ball around well, get into the open lanes and finish our scoring chances.
"We have one of the more experienced teams in our league."
Crescenta Valley (10-0-6, 6-0-2 in league for 20 points) eclipsed its previous best mark of four goals, set Jan. 9 against Burroughs in a home league match. In that contest, Atanackovic scored four goals in a 7-0 victory.
On Monday, Atanackovic, the reigning All-Area Boys' Soccer Player of the Year, started the scoring when he intercepted an errant clearing attempt by a Glendale defender and launched a shot past Glendale starting goalkeeper Aris Yeghiazaryan in the third minute after Yeghiazaryan had made two nice saves.
The Falcons, ranked No. 5 in the latest CIF Southern Section IV poll and the two-time defending league champions, made it 2-0 when Alex Berger took a throw-in by Erick Trejo and beat Yeghiazaryan in the 13th minute. Atanackovic then scored two goals about three minutes apart to extend Crescenta Valley's lead to 4-0.
Things got worse for Glendale (1-10-4, 0-5-3 in league for three points). Crescenta Valley goalkeeper Nick Ruiz launched a goal kick three-quarters down the field before Trejo corralled the ball and scored to make it 5-0 in the 30th minute. Crescenta Valley then got an own goal in the 38th minute to raise the advantage to 6-0.
"We were focused and came out right from the beginning," said Crescenta Valley first-year Coach Grant Clark, whose team battled to a 1-1 against Glendale in the first meeting Jan. 3 at Crescenta Valley. "When the whistle blew, we were ready to go.
"We talked before the game about the 1-1 tie and we remembered them celebrating and we didn't want that to happen again. We were able to move the ball well [Monday]."
Glendale cut the deficit to 6-1 in the 47th minute on a goal by midfielder Allen Grakasian before Crescenta Valley's Pablo Sotillo closed out the scoring off a pass from Atanackovic in the 73rd minute.
Glendale Coach Tulio Marroquin said the Nitros are searching for consistency.
"All we can do is come in and play our best from beginning to end," Marroquin said. "We are playing to win every game, but things haven't gone our way.
"We knew this would be a difficult game and a tough challenge. CV played real well and took it to us in the first half."