SOUTH PASADENA — Given the type of tough competition the Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo team has played en route to a 10-1 record this season, the Falcons found themselves in an alien position Tuesday afternoon.
Crescenta Valley scored five of the first six goals versus host South Pasadena in nonleague play and enjoyed a rare breather en route to an 18-3 victory over the short-handed Tigers.
"Hey, this was a game just like any other," Falcons Coach Brent Danna said. "This is about making good passes, getting up on your legs and you always have to get ready to play your opponent, regardless of who it is."
Under the best of circumstances, the Division IV fifth-ranked Tigers (3-5) would have had issues with the Division V second-ranked Falcons.
However, South Pasadena played without star driver Devin Grab, who had returned the same day from the FINA Youth World Championships in Australia, and without fellow starters Liza Echeverria (cold) and Sabrina Pierce (shoulder injury).
The rest of the Tigers struggled in falling behind, 5-1, after the first quarter and 8-2 at halftime.
Crescenta Valley scored with lightning efficiency in netting goals on their first three attempts from Elissa Arnold, Katie Benson and Breanna Lawton.
"Coach told us to still concentrate and still make passes," said Lawton, who finished with a goal and two assists. "We still had to treat this like a game."
Crescenta Valley then put the match out of reach via a 7-1 third quarter in which Lynley Fernandez scored two of her match-high four goals and five Falcons contributed a goal.
"What we learned from [previous tournaments] was to capitalize on our opportunities," said Benson, who added two goals and two assists. "We have to focus on our breaks."
The difference between the teams was also apparent on the stat sheet as Crescenta Valley boasted 10 players with at least one goal in comparison to the Tigers' two scorers.
Crescenta Valley also outshot South Pasadena, 30-10, and won the turnover battle, 29-8.
America Hall scored both of her goals for the Tigers in the first half, while South Pasadena's final goal came at the 3:47 mark in the third.
The goal, which pushed the score to 12-3, was followed by six straight Falcons' goals.
Despite the setback, Tigers Coach Robert Echeverria didn't rely on excuses.
"This was an opportunity for the girls to step up and show what they can do and they didn't show up," Robert Echeverria said. "The was a good game for me to realize which girls are actually going to come out to play and which weren't and we'll be a different team on Friday."
Falcons goalies Gabriel Isaacson and Maggie Connell both finished with four saves, while the Tigers duo of Clarque De Young and Tabitha Gelano tallied 10 total saves.