ARCADIA — Season after season across all sports, one could argue that the Crescenta Valley High-Arcadia rivalry is the most consistent in terms of Pacific League importance and magnitude in the arena of girls’ soccer.
Though, by its traditionally high expectations, Crescenta Valley has struggled thus far this season, there was no lack of intensity or effort on Friday afternoon at Arcadia Park when the Falcons faced the host Apaches.
Crescenta Valley brought its best effort-wise, but Arcadia, the defending league champion and the odds-on favorite for the title this season, simply made the most of its opportunities in coming away with a 2-0 victory — it’s third in a row in the rivalry, all by shutout.
“The only thing I’m disappointed in is the score,” Falcons Coach Jorden Schulz said. “The play of the game is there.
“If the effort is there, I don’t think you can ask for more.”
Arcadia maintained its spot atop the league standings, improving to 7-5-1 and 6-0 in league, while the Falcons fell to 4-7-1, 4-2-1.
Arcadia Coach Ryan Piszyk, despite the Falcons’ sub-.500 record, expected nothing less than the all-out effort brought forth by Crescenta Valley in the rivalry matchup.
“CV always has a good team and Jorden always puts together a good squad,” he said. “Everything is always a hard-fought game.”
The major problem for Crescenta Valley came with a lack of shots when it had possession, likely coming from equal parts Arcadia defense, a lack of connection within the Falcons’ passing attack and, perhaps, a hesitance on CV’s part to fire away.
“You gotta pull the trigger,” said Schulz, whose team was outshot, 11-5.
Arcadia freshman Eden Hardy broke a scoreless deadlock in the 30th minute with the opening score.
But the match may well have turned for good on the second score, as it played out in a colossal turn of momentum in roughly a minute’s time.
Crescenta Valley senior Ani Hemelians broke through in the Arcadia box and got off an excellent shot from 12 yards out, but it was stopped by a diving save from Arcadia senior goalkeeper Adriana Maldonado in the 49th minute.
Just like that, the Apaches were going the other way, with junior Megan Acosta making a run from midfield up the sideline before breaking in and crossing a low shot inside the far post for a 2-0 lead in the 50th minute.
“It was immediately off Adriana’s save,” Piszyk said. “We have that speed, we have that ability to counter.”
Schulz also said there was a bit of hesitance on the play as the side official threw up his flag for a hand ball against Arcadia along the sideline, but the head official never blew the whistle.
“Everyone I think was anticipating a call,” Schulz said.
Instead, the Falcons were dealt a bigger obstacle to overcome.
“That’s never fun,” said Schulz, who received a spectacular diving save from goalie Sydney Scholler early in the second half on a point-blank shot that kept the deficit at one. “Two’s always a tougher hill to climb.”
Schulz also believes the major discrepancy between the two squads lies with experience, as Hemelians is currently the only senior starter for the Falcons, while the Apaches have 12 seniors on their roster.
Thus, moving forward, Schulz is confident that if her team’s effort remains where it was Friday, the experience can catch up in the second half of league.
“[Arcadia’s] not unbeatable,” Schulz said. “But we definitely have to change some things.
“We’re getting there.”