HomeBlocksFront-GridCVHS Captures CIF Championship With 12-11 Victory

CVHS Captures CIF Championship With 12-11 Victory

The Crescenta Valley High School varsity girls’ lacrosse team captured the program’s first CIF-Southern Section title after edging Palos Verdes, 12-11, in the Division II championship game last Saturday in Downey.
“To see them come out on top is just pure bliss, happiness and joy. They’ve accomplished something that literally never goes away,” said CVHS head coach Brent Ballard, who won a boys’ basketball CIF title at La Cañada High School as a student in 1992. “I will say, going through it a second time with my daughters and with all these players was even better. It just made it more special and incredible.”
The CV offense thrived as it did all season but it was a standout performance by junior goalie Isabella Torres, who racked up a season-high and career-best 12 saves, that helped the Falcons emerge victorious.
“Bella was averaging three to four saves per game so for her to come up with literally one of the greatest goalie performances in school history was the real difference,” Brent Ballard said.

Crescenta Valley High School junior goalie Isabella Torres racked up a career-best 12 saves to help the Falcons beat Palos Verdes High in the CIF-SS Division II championship game last week.

The offense was extremely efficient scoring about 70% of shots, led by senior captain Brianne Ballard with a game-high four goals and one assist.
With 19 minutes remaining, sophomore Sophia Lima scored a decisive goal to break a 9-9 deadlock. After a nine-minute scoring drought, sophomore Camden Ballard recorded CV’s final two goals within 20 seconds to make it 12-9. Camden Ballard and Lima each finished with three goals and one assist.
Palos Verdes attempted to mount a comeback and ultimately pulled within one goal but the Falcons maintained possession in the final minutes and ran out the clock to secure a narrow victory.
“[Brianne Ballard] had the ball as time expired and she just fell down right in front of me and it was just an incredible moment just hugging each other on the field,” Brent Ballard said.

CVHS head coach Brent Ballard and his daughter, senior captain Brianne Ballard, embrace each other after winning the CIF-SS Division II title game against Palos Verdes High last week.

Senior Shari Park tallied one goal and one assist, senior captain Sophia Kachkeran scored once, and senior captain Ashlyn Burton and junior Audrey Chung were each credited with an assist.
CV’s CIF title was four years in the making for seniors Kachkeran, Burton, Park, Brianne Ballard, Jane Marriott, Kate Fox, Stephanie Voskanian and Ava Watson, who dealt with a disrupted season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This group had to go through COVID and the first year of CIF three years ago, we didn’t even qualify for the playoffs,” Brent Ballard said about his senior players who are graduating this academic year. “The senior class was the heart and soul of the team. Yes, we’re losing eight seniors but we’ve got a great group coming back that we’re excited about.”
When the final horn blew signifying a Crescenta Valley victory, it became a surreal moment for the team that worked so hard on the field and likewise for coaches Scott Foster and Brent Ballard. They are also fathers, as Foster’s daughters previously graduated while two of Brent Ballard’s four children are currently on the team.
“It was a very emotional thing to go through this, to battle so hard with these girls and then to see the happiness and joy on their faces — there were a lot of happy tears being shed when the final horn went off. All these players are just continuations of our own daughters,” Brent Ballard said.
After a first-round bye, the road through the playoffs wasn’t an easy journey for a CV squad that, up until this year, had never won a CIF game. Brent Ballard said they were prepared after a successful regular-season schedule against some of the best Orange County teams; he was proven right after a 14-7 second-round victory over Canyon High of Anaheim — the team that eliminated the Falcons from CIF last season.
“We had almost the exact same record we had last year going into the Canyon game and we’re down for the first time in probably seven games. The girls just turned it on and we scored eight straight goals against them and played great defense,” Brent Ballard said. “Early in the season we traveled to Orange County four times to learn how to play with the referees that we saw throughout the entire playoffs, we adjusted our offense a little to play against zone defenses and went into all these games with no expectations except let’s just get after it.”
Camden and Brianne Ballard each etched their names into the school record books. Camden Ballard broke the single-season goals record with 93 while Brianne Ballard broke the single-season records for assists (63) and points (122). The varsity lacrosse squad collected the 11th girls’ CIF title and 24th title for Crescenta Valley High while the 19 wins this season are the most in program history. The Falcons ended their season on a school-record 11-game win streak to finish with a 19-5 overall record.

Crescenta Valley High School senior Ashlyn Burton, sophomore Camden Ballard, senior Jane Marriott and senior Brianne Ballard hold the CIF-SS Division II championship plaque after beating Palos Verdes High, 12-11.

First published in the May 20 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

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