The jumble of teams behind Sierra League champion West Covina South Hills during the regular season didn’t make for any easy decisions after the year ended. The all-league team had an obvious MVP, but there were plenty of arguments to be made beyond that. As it turned out, second-place Damien, and third-place Claremont (which tied in the standings) received three first team all-league selections as did third-place Chino Hills.
MVP: Adrian Dehorta, Sr., South Hills
Anthony Seminaris, Sr., Ayala
Robert Longtree, Sr., Ayala
Dylan Lowenstein, Sr., Chino Hills
Jeremy Steggell, Sr., Chino Hills
Austin Harvey, Sr., Chino Hills
Nick Costello, Sr., Claremont
Jeremy Giles, Sr., Claremont
Alex Galuchie, Jr., Claremont
Jordan Abernathy, Jr., Damien
David Banuelos, Jr., Damien
Grant Hockin, Jr., Damien
MVPs: Fabian Venegas, Montclair, Sr.
Parker Tormey, Don Lugo, Sr.
Daniel Sandoval, Chino, Sr.
Joseph Gutierrez, Chaffey
Anthony Reyes, Montclair
David Roman, Montclair
Adrian Garcia, Montclair
Edgar Fonseca, Montclair
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Kristen Jensen, Los Osos, Senior
After five consecutive trips to the CIF finals, it’s safe to say Los Osos has a good girls water polo program. Though the school has only been around for eight seasons, in that short period there have obviously been some accomplished girls water polo players to come through the program. Besides leading the team to its second ever CIF championship, Kristen Jensen’s senior season is best defined by breaking the school’s single-season scoring record by a mind-blowing 58 goals. Jensen (pictured above) scored 174 goals this season and helped the Grizzlies end a three-year losing streak in the CIF finals. “We’ve never had a player this dominant come through our program,” Los Osos coach Dave Merryman said.
COACHES OF THE YEAR: Eric Cypher and Dave Merryman, Los Osos
The co-head coaches have led Los Osos to five consecutive appearances in the CIF finals. After losing the last three, they helped the Grizzlies capture CIF-SS Division 3 championship, the program’s first title since 2009. Los Osos finished the regular season by claiming its eighth straight Baseline League title.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Tanya Samarzich, Upland, Senior, Forward
Given the myriad levels of the soccer Olympic development program, there is often confusion when discussing membership of a “national team.” Particularly when the member is a high school senior. The case of Upland forward Tanya Samarzich is easily simplified. “Oh yeah, she’s on the actual Mexican National Team,” Upland coach Bo Whieldon said. “You don’t find many her age that are because usually they’re on the under-20 national team. It’s kind of a big deal.” Samarzich, 18, a dual citizen, didn’t play a full season at Upland until this year because of her required presence in Mexico or elsewhere around the globe. Her senior year netted her All-Valley Player of the Year honors after a 26-goal, 11-assist season during which she led her team to an outright Baseline League championship.
COACH OF THE YEAR: George Duran, San Dimas
After a winning just one of its first six games, Duran led San Dimas on a run that ended in the CIF-SS Division 6 semifinals. Following the rocky start, San Dimas went on a 16-game winning streak that included 12 Valle Vista League victories good for an undefeated run through league, earning the Saints a second consecutive league championship. The Saints reached the CIF-SS Division 6 semifinal for the second straight season and held a one-goal lead with eight minutes to play before eventual CIF champion Citrus Valley rallied for a 3-2 win.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Adrien Perez, Ontario, Senior, Forward
Take your pick: 23 goals, 12 assists, a CIF championship, a second consecutive league MVP. There were plenty of reasons to choose Perez (pictured above) as the Player of the Year, but what sealed the deal was the fact that he completed the last portion of a historic season playing through a debilitating knee injury. The Loyola Marymount-bound senior was the leader of a team that authored a legendary run through the Division 4 playoffs to claim the program’s first ever CIF championship and the second of any kind in the history of Ontario High School. Penalty kicks and overtime were how the final two games of the season ended for Ontario, but Perez was holding up a plaque when it was all said and done.
COACHES OF THE YEAR: Vince Mangione and Moses Venegas, Ontario
The co-coaches led Ontario to the school’s first ever soccer CIF championship and the second CIF title of any kind. The unseeded Jaguars defeated the No. 2 seed before winning a semifinal on penalty kicks over the No. 3 seed and ultimately claiming the CIF-SS Division 4 championship game in overtime on March 1. Of course, Ontario had to win its final five regular season games to claim a share of the Mt. Baldy League championship and begin the greatest postseason run in school history.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Amy Okonkwo, Etiwanda, Junior, Forward
The first time I saw Amy Okonkwo play this season, I was convinced she was the Player of the Year. Of course, I didn’t see her play until she dropped 27 points on the No. 1 team in the country to lead Etiwanda to a one-point overtime win in the semifinals of the CIF playoffs. Etiwanda’s victory over then-undefeated Santa Ana Mater Dei was certainly the defining moment of the season, but the Eagles had a quarterfinal win over eventual state champion Long Beach Poly and played in the first CIF final in the program’s history, among other accomplishments. It wasn’t a coincidence that this happened in Okonkwo’s first season at Etiwanda.
By all accounts, the junior transfer from Los Osos was just one piece of the puzzle. Her averages of 15.7 points and 9.5 rebounds are modest by some standards. Though the 6-foot-1 forward had range that easily extended beyond the 3-point line, she rarely dominated the ball, taking over only when needed. For example, with Etiwanda trailing by nine, Okonkwo scored 10 of her 27 against Mater Dei in the fourth quarter. By the way, the Eagles graduate just two players in the rotation, neither of which were starters.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Anders Anderson, Etiwanda
The fourth-year head coach not only led the Eagles past the quarterfinal barrier for the first time, but to the first CIF final in school history. Etiwanda beat eventual state champion Long Beach Poly in the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 1AA playoffs, then handed a Santa Ana Mater Dei team ranked No. 1 in the country at the time its first loss of the season in the semifinals. The best season in school history ended with a 28-4 record as Etiwanda fell to Corona Santiago in the CIF championship game and Long Beach Poly in the state tournament.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Jordan McLaughlin, Etiwanda, Junior, Point Guard
It was hard to imagine Jordan McLaughlin entering his senior year without having won a Player of the Year award – similar to how it’s hard to believe Kobe has only won one NBA MVP in 17 seasons – but Jeremy Hemsley and Malcolm Drumwright were certainly viable candidates for the 2013 All-Valley Player of the Year award. Hemsley led Damien to the first CIF championship in school history and Drumwright was an easy direct comparison after his Rancho Cucamonga team defeated Etiwanda in their final meeting to share the Baseline League title.
McLaughlin was edged for the award last season by La Verne Lutheran’s Grant Jerrett, a Freshman at Arizona this season who was not only the All-Valley POY, but the California Gatorade Player of the Year in 2012. Etiwanda’s point guard, who already has a plethora of scholarship offers, didn’t have any gaudy statistics this season (15.6 ppg) but his team’s defensive style doesn’t lend itself to such things. McLaughlin ended any debate, however, by leading his team to the CIF-SS Division 1AA championship by defeating a Mater Dei team that would go on to win its third straight state title.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Dave Kleckner, Etiwanda
His 17th season at Etiwanda was arguably the finest coaching job of Kleckner’s career as the Eagles claimed their first CIF championship in eight years and second in the program’s history. Perhaps the best defensive team ever fielded at Etiwanda held teams to 42 points per game in capturing the CIF-SS Division 1AA title as the sixth-seeded Eagles defeated No. 1 seed Mater Dei, 54-51. Etiwanda finished with a 28-3 record and made the school’s second ever trip to the semifinals of the CIF state tournament before falling in a rematch with eventual state champion Mater Dei.
The awards seem to keep rolling in for Etiwanda point guard Jordan McLaughlin. After leading the Eagles to the CIF-SS Division 1AA championship, the lastest honor is a spot on MaxPreps.com’s Junior All-American fourth team.
The honors, exclusively for juniors, included one other player from the CIF-SS. Stanley Johnson of Mater Dei, the team Etiwanda defeated in the CIF-SS championship game, was selected to the first team and named the National Player of the Year.
San Dimas is the only local girls soccer team with more than one player on the all-CIF teams released Monday, which assuredly makes the Saints the only team with three. Goalkeeper Britain Chaputa and junior midfielders Daisy Duran and Morgan Quaternick were all named to the Division 6 all-CIF team on the heels of carrying San Dimas within eight minutes of a CIF-SS championship. The Saints’ season ended with a stunning 3-2 loss to Citrus Valley Feb. 27 in the CIF championship game, but all-CIF honors are a welcome reprieve.
Player of the Year: Abbi Williams, Sr. Defense – Chaminade
Coach of the Year: Mike Evans – Chaminade
Turns out the actual CIF championship was just the beginning for the Ontario boys soccer team. The hardware keeps rolling in for the lone local team to win a title as Loyola Marymount-bound forward Adrien Perez was named the All-CIF Player of the Year in Division 4 and Vince Mangione Coach of the Year.
Carter, which went undefeated this season until losing the CIF-SS Division 6 championship game, landed three players on the all-CIF team. Alta Loma, Ontario Christian and Ontario all had a pair of players on the all-CIF team.
Player of the Year: Gage Zerboni, Sr. Forward – San Clemente
Coach of the Year: Mike Pronier – San Clemente