Falcons quartet leads all-league way

A season ago, the Crescenta Valley High girls' soccer team won its third consecutive Pacific League championship outright and Falcons defender Mallory Carcich was the league's co-player of the year.

This past season, the Falcons rallied to share their fourth consecutive title with rival Arcadia, but were shut out individually as it relates to post league accolades.

Still, Crescenta Valley was well-represented on the all-league first team, as senior captains Carcich and Dani Busta along with junior standouts Whitley Boller and Sierra Rhoads notching honors.

Synonymous in large part with the quartet was the ability to play physical and versatile soccer.

Arcadia standout Hayley Greep was voted Pacific League Player of the Year after notching 15 goals and 16 assists, with 13 goals and 12 assists coming in league.

"I think she's incredible," said Falcons Coach Jorden Schulz of the talented senior, who led the Apaches to a 14-6-3 season and an 11-1-2 league record that was identical to that of the Falcons, who went 13-5-2 on the season.

Carcich and Busta were both four-year varsity standouts and longtime anchors in a back line that was the Falcons' strength during their current league-title reign.

"She shows up to everything, she works hard at everything, she stays late, she's running stairs after practice when everybody else is at home," Schulz said of Carcich, who also tied for the team-high with six goals. "She's fast, she's big, she's strong, she knows what to do."

Carcich possessed one of the league's strongest legs and also led a defense that was regarded as the best in league, allowing just four goals in 14 league games.

"Whenever we needed something to happen, she was basically around it," Schulz said.

Both Carcich and Busta also battled through injuries, the former dealing with a hip ailment, while the latter was plagued by a back problem. Still, Busta showcased her standout ability as a fleet-footed and clutch defender who was also a catalyst for the offense.

"That kid, she's just good," Schulz said.

Rhoads scored arguably the team's biggest goal when she converted in the second half of the team's 1-0 win over Arcadia that forced a shared title. But she went back and forth from playing defender and forward, showing equal value at the positions, with six goals scored and playing a crucial role on a defense that had 10 league shutouts.

"I'm really glad she's just a junior," Schulz said.

So too is the Long Beach State-bound Boller, whose prowess came as a physical midfielder who was exceptional defensively and in the air.

"She's obviously got the stature of somebody who's intimidating," Schulz said. "She's very good in the air, she's not afraid to go after the ball. ... Winning the ball in the air is so important and she just does it."

Sophomores Olivia Bird and Sarah Warden drew second-team honors.

The speedy Warden played both forward and defender, seemingly switching with Rhoads on a game-by-game basis.

"She loves to play at forward when she gets the opportunity and she's also a really good defender," Schulz said.

Bird was a focal point on set pieces, taking the team's corner kicks, and was a mainstay on the left side of the defense.

"She wants to play where she plays and she does it very well," Schulz said. "She's really good at what she does."

Goalie Jessi Magallon earned honorable mention for the Falcons.

Glendale, which took sixth in league with a 3-10-1 mark and a 4-13-3 overall standing, saw senior midfielder Ashley Aquino notch second-team honors and Natalie Harmon recognized with honorable mention.

Hoover finished seventh in the eight-team Pacific League, going 2-11-1 with a pair of wins over Muir and a 4-12-1 overall record.

Junior goalie Yvonne Cruz, who drew notice for making plenty of saves and sporting a mohawk, was a second-team selection.

"I was actually pleasantly surprised in how she developed as a goalkeeper," Tornadoes Coach Donal Kennedy said. "She grew leaps and bounds."

Freshman forward/midfielder Jordan Miller earned honorable mention.

"She was definitely our leading goal scorer [and] was far and away our greatest [offensive] threat," Kennedy said. "I knew she had potential, but she was a lot more mature as a freshman than I anticipated. She was aggressive and she understood the game."

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