With journeys and destinations reversed, so too was the end result for the Crescenta Valley High girls’ soccer team on Friday afternoon.
A season after having opened the playoffs with a first-round home victory over San Luis Obispo, the Falcons made the long trek north and came up on the losing end against the Tigers, 4-0, in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division III tournament.
“They just play really well together,” said Falcons Coach Jorden Schulz of the Tigers (17-4-3), who took second in the PAC 7 League. “They were good, they were very solid.”
A season ago, the Falcons hosted the Tigers, who have 14 upperclassmen on their roster, and prevailed, 1-0, at Crescenta Valley.
Crescenta Valley, after a third-place finish in the Pacific League, finished its 2013-14 season at 9-10-2. While the campaign, the first under .500 for Schulz in her four seasons, featured a team of just six seniors, Schulz isn’t one to label anything rebuilding or a transition.
“I don’t want to ever call a season that. I feel like that’s everybody’s crutch,” she said. “We were very young and inexperienced. They’ve seen what they can do, now it just needs to be more consistent.”
Consistency wasn’t found in San Luis Obispo, though, as Schulz said the head official called fouls aplenty and was blowing his whistle “every three minutes.”
“There was just no flow to the game,” she said. “Both sides were livid because he was blowing his whistle so much.”
Crescenta Valley trailed, 2-0, at the half, one that was played for roughly the last 10 minutes without junior Grace Keller, one of the Falcons’ top players, after she drew a double-yellow.
“It was definitely a foul, but it wasn’t a yellow,” Schulz said.
Crescenta Valley was also largely without the services of starter Izzy Costilla, who was concussed in the opening half.
Schulz said the Falcons had a few, solid scoring chances, but it was SLO that put its best chances away and deserved credit for the victory.
“They had good finishes. They finished what they should’ve finished,” she said. “They beat us. I think they were a pretty good team; you have to give credit where credit is due.”
And for the Falcons, with 18 players set to return, a long bus ride and a tough loss might be the experience they need going forward.
“I think we hung with them. The game looked good. It wasn’t like we were getting completely blown out,” Schulz said. “You learn when you lose. Hopefully they are learning and learning to deal with pressure.”