Glendale, in contrast, was looking to break through and challenge for a playoff berth.
“It was very important to us,” said Costilla of the Falcons notching their first win, as they improved to 1-4. “We came out here playing with our heart and soul. We knew we needed to win today no matter what. It was a team effort.”
Costilla scored a pair of second-half goals, assisted by junior Grace Keller and sophomore Arden Gonta, while junior Sabrina Sessarego (off a Natalia Victoria assist) and junior Samantha Phinney scored in the first half.
Glendale dropped to 2-3-1, but Tuesday’s performances might well have been more an indicator of what the teams did on their winter breaks than what they might experience in nonleague competition.
“I think we were just rusty. I had pretty much the entire team out of town or injured these last two weeks,” Nitros Coach Victor Aquino said. “And I think it showed. We were rusty; we didn’t communicate.”
It was much the opposite for Falcons Coach Jorden Schulz and her squad.
“I’ve been upset for a month [after the winless start], so their practice sessions have been hard,” Schulz said. “We basically went completely back to basics. Now it just needs to be incorporated.”
And apparently it came against Glendale.
“Everybody put the effort in,” Costilla said. “You could tell the transition from our practices to into our play in the game.”
It didn’t take long for CV to assert control, as Sessarego scored off a Victoria assist in the 10th minute.
A scramble led to Phinney’s score in the 35th minute when Glendale goalie Ashley Hermosillo came out and jumped to knock away a 50-50 ball, but was shielded by a Nitros defender and a Falcons attacker. Hermosillo got two hands on the ball, but couldn’t get enough leverage. Phinney collected it on a bounce and promptly chipped in a score into the exposed net.
Aquino rallied his troops briefly at the half and it showed in the first minute when Aline Graham went down the heart of the field for the Nitros and fired off a shot that was saved.
But the Falcons wouldn’t relent thereafter, dominating possession as the Sarah Worden-led defense keyed a shutout in which Falcons goalies Emily Johnston and Sydney Schoeller made just a save each in their respective halves of play.
The goal that truly put the game to rest came when Keller laced a corner kick right to Costilla, who headed in a 3-0 lead in the 44th minute.
Crescenta Valley, which subbed throughout the second half, got its last tally when Gonta dribbled up the heart of the field and dished right to Costilla, who popped in her final goal in the 56th minute.
“I think this was actually a really, really good game for us to start of league with,” Schulz said. “[Glendale] never let up the pressure so we had to keep playing hard, keep our passes crisp, cause they never quit against us.”
Of course, it was just the opposite for Aquino and company.
“I expected a lot more today, I’m disappointed,” Aquino said. “It’s the first game, though, we’ll learn from our mistakes.”