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Unbeaten Falcons push into playoffs

After going undefeated in the Pacific League, the Crescenta Valley High boys’ soccer team received its just reward — the third seed in the CIF Southern Section Division IV playoffs.

The only item of business needing to be cleared up is who the Falcons will meet in the first round.

The CIF office unveiled its playoff pairings Monday afternoon with Crescenta Valley, St. Francis and Flintridge Prep all qualifying.

Crescenta Valley (16-0-6) won its third league championship in a row and will enter the postseason on a 12-game winning streak. The Falcons will meet the winner of today’s wild-card match between El Segundo or Laguna Beach at 3 p.m. Thursday.


“It’s nice to see that we are the No. 3 seed and will get to play a home game,” said Crescenta Valley first-year Coach Grant Clark, who added that he will attend the wild-card match to get a better idea of both teams. “Our guys have been playing very well the last few weeks and they will go into the playoff confident.

“We have to make sure that we don’t have any letdowns and that we just go out there and play our style of soccer. We’ll have to sit down and watch the film from the game to get us a better idea of what to expect. We will have the target on our back and that’s something we are used to in our league.”

El Segundo (7-7-4) finished third in the Pioneer League. Laguna Beach (8-6-3) placed fourth in the Orange Coast League and earned an at-large berth.

The winner of Crescenta Valley’s first-round match will face Diamond Bar (10-9-2) or Whittier (8-8-5) in a second-round match Feb. 21.


St. Francis will hit the road for its Division I first-round game against Upland (13-6-2). Upland captured the Baseline League crown.

St. Francis (7-8-8) placed third in the Mission League, seeing its bid to capture the league title fall short with a road loss against Loyola on Wednesday. The Golden Knights have quite a tradition, evidenced by their three CIF championships between 1996 and 2003 under the guidance of Coach Glen Appels.

Appels said he wasn’t aware of Upland’s tendencies.

“They won their league, so they must be strong,” Appels said. “We knew we’d get a tough first-round draw and that’s always the case in Division I.

“What’s a positive for us is that we’ve played a lot of tough teams this season. For us, it’s the matter of getting healthy because we’ve had some guys who were either hurt or sick.”

The winner of the St. Francis-Upland contest will meet Channel League champion Ventura or Agoura, which took third in the competitive Marmonte League.

Flintridge Prep, which finished fourth in the Prep League to earn an at-large berth, will begin its playoff journey today with a Division VI wild-card match at Yucca Valley. The Rebels (7-7-1) will make the 250-mile round trip to face a Yucca Valley squad that’s 4-5-4 and took third in the De Anza League.

“We knew we’d get a wild-card match,” Flintridge Prep first-year Coach Mathew Bowden said. “It sounds like it will be a long trip, but we are feeling good about ourselves right now.”


The Flintridge Prep-Yucca Valley winner will battle top-seeded Ontario Christian (18-3-1) in a first-round match Thursday. Ontario Christian won the Ambassador League championship.