LA CA¿ADA — Many of the members of the La Cañada High boys' soccer team left the field Friday satisfied following the conclusion of the first week of Rio Hondo League competition.
The Spartans, who shared the league title last season, began league pitted against worthy opponents South Pasadena and Monrovia. La Cañada picked up four out of a possible six points.
La Cañada got a huge performance from senior goalkeeper Graham Labran-Boyd, who finished with 10 saves in a 1-1 tie against visiting Monrovia on Friday.
La Cañada, ranked eighth in the latest CIF Southern Section Division V poll, improved to 8-2-5, 1-0-1 in league. Monrovia is 10-3-4, 1-0-1.
“This was another barnburner,” said La Cañada Coach Alex Harrison, whose team rallied to pick up a 2-1 home victory against South Pasadena on Wednesday. “Graham showed why he's among the top goalkeepers in our league by making some real big saves and why he's a leader.
“It was a tough week playing against two very good teams, but we leave undefeated. We've got to be able to play a more complete game. It's getting there. It's a work in progress.”
The Spartans and Wildcats swapped second-half goals in the first of two-head-to-head matchups. The teams will meet again Feb. 5 at Monrovia.
Senior midfielder Filipp Franke gave the Spartans, who split the league crown last season with South Pasadena, a 1-0 lead when he took a nice through ball up the middle from senior midfielder Armaan Zare and lined a shot past Monrovia senior goalkeeper Max Medley in the 44th minute.
The Wildcats knotted it in the 56th minute when a free kick by senior defender Conor Sams was headed in by senior midfielder Frankie Gutierrez past Labran-Boyd.
“The goal 100% of the time is to be focused and you can't go to sleep for even a second,” Labran-Boyd said. “We had a silly foul that led to their goal and we weren't able to get to the back post to cover.
“We are happy to get four points. Monrovia had a lot of good speed and hit their wings well.”
La Cañada and Monrovia each had one golden scoring opportunity following the tying goal. Franke, who scored the winning goal with about three minutes left against South Pasadena, lined a shot just over the crossbar in the 58th minute. LaBran-Boyd then made a nice stop in the 73rd minute against senior striker Danny Hoefferle.
“Both teams had some good shots toward the end of the game,” Harrison said. “We didn't play very good in the first half and we were a little better in the second half.
“Monrovia is a hard-working team that's disciplined.”
Labran-Boyd made two tough saves in the first half. He made a diving save in the 26th minute on senior forward Harrison Shepherd and then made a sprawling stop on a shot inside the box by senior midfielder Rafael Moralez.