First published in the Dec. 11 print issue of the Glendale News Press.
Girls’ high school soccer has kicked off a new season, and Crescenta Valley, Glendale and Hoover are all off and running.
CRESCENTA VALLEY FALCONS
Crescenta Valley High School girls’ soccer had a highly successful campaign last season. The Falcons won the Pacific League and advanced to the semifinals in CIF-Southern Section Division III playoffs, and, consequently, a berth in the state tournament. They want to keep things rolling.
“In a lot of good ways, we’re picking up kind of where we left off last year. The girls are still pretty excited and unified in that way,” head coach Tyraysha Souza said. “But we have a lot of new faces too, so we’re just trying to redefine goals for this year.”
The Falcons’ goals for each individual player go hand in hand with the larger team concept.
“Our goals revolve around … putting forth your best effort, making sure you leave it all out on the field [and being] proud of your performance no matter what the scoreboard says,” Souza said.
Souza believes her team’s strength lies in their high soccer IQ, ability to create and openness to receive coaching.
“We give them permission to be creators, but that also means they need to be open to that feedback, just as an artist would be.”
The Falcons have seven active seniors, four of whom are captains: Kaisa Lindman Marshall, Megan Parada, Rachel Park and Lindsey Furstenberg, “a quiet lead-by-example gal.” Senior Teleya Blunt is also back and is “a solid all-around athlete,” the coach added.
Minding the net will be senior Isabella Galvan, who stepped in for the injured starter in last season’s playoffs.
“I can see such improvement and maturation from her,” Souza said.
Souza says the change in Pacific League scheduling to the two-tier separation at the midway point will result in the strain of playing at a higher level of competition down the stretch. This, coupled with the change from games on Tuesday and Friday to games on Tuesday and Thursday, will test them even more.
“You would think the biggest challenge would be something you need to work on, but for this [season] I really think it’s what the league has imposed upon us without thinking about the actual sport itself and how to take care of the kids,” Souza said.
At Glendale High School, keeping the players in good health is a priority, but winning is also on the Nitros’ minds.
“[Our goal] is mainly to keep the girls healthy and to avoid any major injuries, knock on wood. That’s the No. 1 concern,” said coach Cecilia Nicolas Javier, who took the position just weeks before the start of the season. “The No. 2 goal is to keep having a good record, because I know coach Victor [Aquino] did an amazing job in previous years, so, of course, we want to continue with a winning culture.”
The Nitros are adapting to the new leadership.
“I feel like this team, this group of young ladies, are doing an amazing job,” Nicolas Javier said. “I know that perhaps for them it is not easy to adjust to someone else’s methods, but their response is very good and they are wonderful young ladies.”
So far, the mix pleases Nicolas Javier.
“We are a combination of gritty players with good players, which makes us have a strong team in all aspects: physically and mentally.”
Riley Millward will be the goalie. Brianna Diaz, Bella Mirzaian and Ysbella Sanchez will be major contributors. Johana Lucio and Kacy Puno have already been identified as “ballers.”
“The girls are getting used to me and I am getting used to them,” Nicolas Javier said. “I feel we have a good team for playing both defense and offense. I think with this team we are going to see a lot of ball movement and a lot of attacking. [In] some of the games we are going to be more aggressive, definitely, because we have the players to do that.”
Wins have been hard to come by at Hoover, but this season’s squad of Tornados is ready to turn things around.
“Overall, I think the team is in a good place. I definitely think we have a different mindset from the other years I’ve been coaching there,” head coach Luis Ardiano, who is in his fourth season, said. “This is definitely a stronger team.”
The Tornados will continue pursuing a familiar goal and are optimistic it is attainable this campaign.
“The goal is to make the postseason,” Ardiano said. “That is our goal every single season, but I think we actually have the quality and ability this [season]. I feel very confident and passionate about this [season]. I think we are going to do something and I don’t think a lot of people expect that.”
Strengths for this squad are improved ball control and depth, while the challenges are a lack of experience and a need to be more aggressive on a team whose roster is 15 players.
Senior Kelly Ardiano “has done a lot in the offseason to [improve] her ability and be able to lead this team,” the coach said. Junior forward Emilie Shahvosian has also improved and will be a major contributor. Both are captains. Freshman Katherine Coppersmith is expected to make an immediate impact: “She’s fast and has a lot of pace.” Freshman Olivia Kovach has also stood out: “She is very passionate and hard-working.”
The slogan for the season is “Bleed purple,” both on the field and on social media.
“Purple represents the color of our community. I think that shows our passion and that we are very determined and we have a great work ethic,” Ardiano said. “Everything that we post, picture and video-wise, we always say, ‘Bleed purple.’”