LA CRESCENTA — Two games into the season, the Crescenta Valley High girls’ soccer team is still searching for its first victory.
Perhaps more importantly, the Falcons are still looking for cohesion and consistency.
“It’s our second game, but these kids have been playing soccer for eight years,” said Falcons Coach Jorden Schulz following her team’s 2-1 nonleague home loss to Saugus on Friday afternoon. “There’s going to be some give and take, but soccer is soccer, the game’s the same.”
Junior Courtney Ianello broke loose for the Falcons’ first goal of the season in the 56th minute, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a two-goal halftime deficit as Crescenta Valley (0-2) lost its second one-goal game to begin the season. The Falcons lost to Pasadena Poly, 1-0, on Tuesday.
Saugus (1-0-1) ended a relatively back-and-forth first half in emphatic fashion, scoring twice in the half’s last four minutes, with a pair of goals coming roughly a minute apart.
“I think the last six minutes of the first half, we just quit,” Schulz said. “They scored a goal and we just stopped playing.”
After Crescenta Valley found good chances and good shots from sophomore Susanne Carpenter and senior Ani Hemelians saved in the first half, Saugus, after its share of chances particularly via corner kicks and deep throw-ins, broke the scoreless tie.
Senior Jenna Mears made a run up the heart of the field before dishing left to Lanica Buhain. Buhain lofted a high shot that fell inside the far post for a 1-0 lead in the 37th minute.
In the 38th minute, Avery Schulhofer once again pierced the center of the Falcons’ defense and scored on a one-on-one for a 2-0 advantage.
For its part, Crescenta Valley looked to come out invigorated in the second half, taking a marked advantage in possession and run of play for roughly the first 25 minutes.
“We made some good runs that resulted in good chances,” Schulz said. “It needs to be more consistent.”
Ianello made a sensational individual play to cut the deficit in half, as she stole possession from her mark, lost her and then dribbled around the charging goalie before drilling a left-footed shot into the open net.
Crescenta Valley is dealing with its share of major losses due to graduation, in particular the departures of Sierra Rhoads, Whitley Boller and Katie Callister, the latter two having long given the Falcons a tall and physical presence in the midfield.
Hence, Schulz believes the team is also going through the process of having to change the way it plays as it relates to not having a sizable midfield advantage.
“It’s kinda figuring out how to work with the girls we have and not playing the same as we did last year,” Schulz said.
Complicating matters, the Falcons were dealing with a half-dozen injuries, including to starters Rachel Bird and Kelsey Boller.
The Falcons will try for their first win and to further come into their own with a pair of road games next week at West Ranch and Golden Valley.