LA CRESCENTA — While the more arduous tests of the Pacific League are likely still ahead, Crescenta Valley High's girls' soccer team has seemingly hit its stride.
At least during its current run, evidenced further by Monday’s performance, as the Falcons, led by two goals from senior Sierra Rhoads, won their fifth straight game with their fourth consecutive shutout in the form of a 5-0 thumping of Glendale in a league tilt at Crescenta Valley High.
“Overall, I’m happy with the progress we’re making,” said Falcons Coach Jorden Schulz, whose team improved to 5-2-1, 2-0 in league and will face Burbank on Wednesday. “It just needs to continue to be progress and it can’t digress.”
Rhoads scored twice in a three-minute span, while junior Lisa Kang opened the scoring and Bird sisters Rachel, a freshman, and Olivia, a junior, added a goal and an assist each.
“I think we’re all playing for each other and working hard in practice and I think it’s reflecting in our games,” Rhoads said.
Just as CV, which has won four straight league titles, is moving in the right direction, things are going much the opposite for Glendale (2-6, 0-2).
“[It’s] not good,” said Nitros Coach Victor Aquino. “I know it’ll get better.”
Things were bad and got worse on Friday, as Glendale opened league with an 8-0 loss to Burroughs that also saw the Nitros’ Aline Graham go down with an injury. Graham, who’s out indefinitely, is arguably Glendale’s top player.
“We had to adapt to a new formation [Monday] and against Burroughs,” Aquino said. “It was just kind of hard for them.”
CV opened the scoring when Kang headed in an Olivia Bird free kick in the 11th minute.
In the 25th minute, Itzia Villegas took a steal deep in the Falcons’ attacking third — where the large majority of the match was played — and passed to the right wing where Rachel Bird had space to loft a shot high into the far end of the net for a 2-0 lead.
Just as the half was winding to a close, Rhoads turned the match into a blowout.
Rachel Bird took a free kick from 20 yards out and played it into the box where Rhoads tapped in a 3-0 lead in the 37th minute. In the 39th minute, Rhoads, with her back to the net from roughly 20 yards out, maintained possession with a trio of Nitros defending her, turned and let fly on a beautiful shot inside the far post.
Just nine minutes into the second half, Olivia Bird’s corner kick was tapped into the net by the Glendale goalie’s leaping attempt for the final tally of the day.
With the Falcons shuffling in all their players, Crescenta Valley still dominated the run of play, as the Whitley Boller-led defense didn’t allow a shot throughout the match.
“We concentrated on just playing well and finishing,” Rhoads said. “I thought we did a great job of that.”