ARCADIA — It was 40 minutes of infamy that ultimately led to the conclusion of four years of supremacy.
With a fifth consecutive Pacific League championship in the balance, Crescenta Valley High’s girls’ soccer team saw its title hopes spiral downward as archrival Arcadia scored three second-half goals to end the Falcons’ four-year run as league champs with a 4-0 Apaches win on Thursday afternoon at Arcadia City Hall Park.
Down 1-0 after a late second-half goal by Janila Lynn following a corner kick scrum, Crescenta Valley (13-4-2, 11-2-1 in league) came out firing in the second half. Senior Sierra Rhoads fired a shot that was just off frame in the first minutes before senior Katie Callister followed roughly five minutes in with the Falcons’ best chance of the match. From eight yards out, she received a cross and got a good touch on a low shot from the center of the box. But Arcadia goalie Adriana Maldonado was in the right place to make one of her seven saves.
“God bless [Callister] cause she should’ve scored there,” Schulz said. “The keep was just in the exact right place.”
Callister’s shot was the last the Falcons would take until a Sarah Worden free kick in the 73rd minute. By that time it was 4-0 Arcadia (12-6-2, 12-1-1), which repeated as league champion after sharing the crown with the Falcons last season.
“We weathered the first 10-minutes storm. They were packing numbers forward for the first 10 minutes. ... Once I think we figured that out and how to play that, that’s when the momentum switched our way,” Arcadia Coach Ryen Piszyk said. “Honestly, [Crescenta Valley] couldn’t get a ball to bounce their way and we took advantage of our opportunities.”
Arcadia’s Rachel Schroeder scored what was likely the most telling goal of the match when she took a free kick just inside midfield after a foul call that was disputed by Schulz. Schroeder’s high, floating kick dropped onto frame and the Falcons’ goalie leaped and got both hands partially on it, but the shot deflected off her grasp and into the net for a 2-0 score in the 58th minute.
Shortly thereafter, the wheels fell off for the Falcons.
“One-0, 2-0 and we held it together for a while and then a girls gets a breakaway,” Schulz said. “I think as a whole we quit when it was 2-0.”
Vienna Rousset’s breakaway goal in the 67th minute made it 3-0 and sealed the game, while another Schroeder score in the 72nd minute concluded the second-half carnage.
While the defensive lapses were the most glaring short-coming for the Falcons, Schulz was particularly displeased with the lack of offense.
“You can’t win if you don’t score,” said Schulz, whose team had five shots following Arcadia’s last goal, but was never able to put any great chances together. “We have a system we want them to play and they didn’t play it.
“When you revert back to kickball, nothing works.”
Crescenta Valley, after finishing second in league, awaits the CIF Southern Section Division III playoff draw on Monday. To have any playoff success, Schulz believes her team must remedy its offensive ills in a hurry.
“I think we held possession for 75% of the game and we couldn’t get it done,” Schulz said. “We need to figure out how to finish and figure it out quick.”