BURBANK — In the consolation championship of the Burroughs Summer League Wednesday against Crespi, the Crescenta Valley High boys’ soccer team came out and dominated play for the first 15 minutes, creating its share of scoring chances.
Despite their efforts, the Falcons came up empty-handed. That left the door open for the Celts, who tallied the game’s first goal.
But that goal seemed to wake up and invigorate Crescenta Valley, as it played lock-down defense the rest of the way and the offense came through with six straight goals to notch a 6-1 victory at Luther Burbank Middle School in the consolation final of the Burroughs Summer League.
While the Falcons’ offense seemed to be clicking against Crespi, no Falcon was more on his game than Matt Ryan. Ryan scored a hat trick and displayed finesse and power on his goals to pace the Falcons’ attack.
Ryan said he is finally getting to the point where he feels confident in his abilities after suffering an injury to his left knee last season.
“When I scored that first goal it gave me confidence that I would go out there and play like I used to before the injury,” Ryan said. “When I’m able to play like that, it’s like I never had the injury and I can play like I know I can.”
Being only summer, it’s still a number of months before the Falcons get ready for the winter season. However, with the way his team played Wednesday, coach Grant Clark said he sees nothing but positives with his squad.
“Today, we really were looking like a team out there,” Clark said. “We’ve used the summer to look at kids who we might want to move up from JV and new kids in our program and just to see what we’re going to have. Every kid who’s showed up this summer has worked hard and really showed that they want to be here.
“This summer league has really been a great opportunity for us. We have been able to play in some friendly, but competitive, games and we have benefited from the experience.”
Despite playing well early on, Crescenta Valley found itself down, 1-0, in the 16th minute when Paul Van Dellen tallied the match’s first goal.
But the Falcons were able to even things in the 22nd minute on a nifty set piece. Justin Wright took a free kick from the left side and lofted it to the far side of the goal where the ball landed 10 yards out from the goal mouth. The ball found an unguarded Ryan who blasted it in for a goal the keeper had no chance at stopping.
The Falcons scored the game-winner in the 30th minute when Ryan got loose in the middle. He maneuvered past two defenders and had the hard-charging goalkeeper one on one. Instead of blasting the ball past the goalie, Ryan instead waited and chipped a floater over the keeper’s head that fluttered into the goal.
“When I saw him coming out, I kinda thought about putting the ball over him,” Ryan said.
Crescenta Valley made it 3-0 in the 39th minute on a goal by Jonathan Tsarofski and headed into halftime with a comfortable cushion.
The second half started much like the first half ended for the Falcons. Ryan completed the hat trick with a goal in the 44th minute.
Tsarofski tallied his second goal two minutes later and Tyler Hovespian capped the scoring with a goal 59th minute.