Four boys' soccer teams punch tickets to CIF playoffs

Flintridge Prep boys' soccer Coach AJ Yates wasn't sure what to expect after his team finished tied for third in the Prep League.

On the surface, Yates figured the Rebels' body of work, which translated into winning overall and league records, would be the determining factor to earn a playoff bid.

Flintridge Prep learned its fate Monday after the CIF Southern Section office unveiled the playoff pairings, with the Rebels receiving at an-large berth in Division VI. Among the other area teams punching their tickets to the playoffs are La Cañada, Crescenta Valley and Glendale.

"I had a good feeling that we would probably make it because we did win a lot of games and our league had a lot of success in the playoffs last year," said Yates, whose team will face Firebaugh, which placed second in the Harbor League, in a first-round road match at 3 p.m. Thursday. "We played and beat some bigger schools, like Burbank, San Marino and Alhambra."

Flintridge Prep (11-5-3) and Firebaugh (6-8-2) are certainly no strangers. Firebaugh posted a 6-0 win against Flintridge Prep in the first round of the playoffs last season.

Yates said the Rebels haven't forgotten last season's result.

"The score wasn't totally indicative of the way the game played out," Yates said. "We were down, 1-0, and then we hit the post before they came back and scored.

"They were the better team. We have a much improved team and we are a lot healthier. We feel like we have a team that's capable of doing some good things."

The winner of the Flintridge Prep-Firebaugh contest will meet Rialto or University Prep in a second-round match Feb. 25.

La Cañada, under Coach Alex Harrison, took second in the Rio Hondo League. The Spartans are 13-4-5 and will make the 250-mile round trip to Santa Maria to battle Pioneer Valley (16-5-2) in a Division V first-round contest at 3 p.m. Friday. Pioneer Valley took second in the PAC-7 League.

The winner will then face top-seeded Garden Grove Santiago, Arroyo or Brentwood in a second-round match Feb. 25.

Crescenta Valley and Glendale, which finished third and fourth, respectively, in the Pacific League, will partake in Division III wild-card matches at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

The Falcons (21-4-5) will take on visiting Highland (9-4-7). Highland placed third in the Golden Valley League. The winner will travel to Placentia Valencia for a first-round match at 3 p.m. Thursday.

Glendale (9-10-2) will travel to face Vista Murrieta (8-9-6). Vista Murrieta took third in the Southwestern League. The winner will then face off against Corona del Mar, which captured the Pacific Coast league crown.

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