Boys Soccer Rankings: Big matches today as No. 1 La Caada visits No. 5 Monrovia; No. 3 La Salle visits rival Bishop Amat at 3:30 today in key league contests.

STAR NEWS TOP 10 RANKINGS
Compiled by Miguel A. Melendez

1. La Caada (15-0-2)
Visits rival Monrovia today

2. St. Francis (8-6)
Knights are 4-0 in Mission Lg.

3. La Salle (14-0)
Visits Bishop Amat today

4. Pasadena Poly (8-5-1)
Beat rival Flintirdge Prep, 3-1

5. Monrovia (10-5-1)
Win streak on line today

6. Marshall (8-1)
Eagles making quick rise

7. South Pasadena (7-5-1)

Played La Caada tough

8. Maranatha (5-7-3)
Bounced back nicely with win

9. Duarte (6-6-2)
Beat Azusa 3-0

10. Temple City (4-7)
Can’t afford more losses

Girls Soccer Rankings: Flintridge still top of class

STAR-NEWS TOP 10 RANKINGS
Compiled by Keith Lair

1. Flint. Sacred Heart (11-0-1)
At Harvard-Westlake Monday

2. Ramona Convent (11-3-3)
Beat reigning CIF champs, 5-1

3. Flintridge Prep (10-2-3)
Rebels haven’t lost this year

4. Pasadena Poly (8-0-3)

Outscored opponents 36-10

5. La Salle (10-4-2)
Back-to-back shutouts

6. Mayfield (4-5-2)
Played Poly to scoreless tie

7. Alverno (8-2-2)

One more nonleague game

8. La Caada (5-4)
Knocked off San Marino

9. San Marino (9-2-2)
Off to 1-1-1 start in league

10. Maranatha (7-7-3)
1-1 start in league

BREAKING NEWS: Maranatha’s Joel Murphy resigns

Joel Murphy, who spent five seasons as Maranatha’s head football coach where he compiled an impressive 47-16 record, has resigned. Murphy, in a statement, cited a new promotion as the school’s director of student ministries. In a short time, Murphy vaulted Maranatha into a local powerhouse with a finals appearance in 2006, quarterfinals in 2007, semifinals in 2008, quarterfinals in 2009 and most recently the quarterfinals in the Minutemen’s first season competing in the tough Mid-Valley Division. “We areimmensely grateful for Coach Murphy and the great distance he has brought the Maranatha football program,” Maranatha athletic director said in a statement. “Joel has infused tremendous pride in the Maranatha football program and reinvigorated our student-athletes. Coach Murphy has instilled the belief that Maranatha student athletes can be successful through hard work and dedication in any area of their life. Joel will remain at Maranatha High School but will focus on his responsibilities as Director of Student Ministries. We would like to thank the Murphy family for their dedication to the Maranatha community over the many years and we are excited for what the future holds for them. We fully trust that the Lord has great plans for Joel and will continue to use him to impact the lives of countless young people both here at Maranatha and beyond.”

Murphy in a statement said it was a privilege to be the head football coach.

“Having part of the Maranatha football program for 13 years, being the head coach for the past five years was a dream,” he said. “I literally watched the program rise from the ashes of not being able to field a varsity team to one who now sends multiple athletes to Division 1 programs. These seasons will forever be a highlight of my life. Yet, I step humbly into another season of life as I have officially stepped down as the head football coach.

“In my new position as Director of Student Ministries I have a desire and passion stirring within to create a climate of authentic community and true spiritual growth here at MHS. I long to be obedient to the position He has placed me and know that to create a program of such high caliber, the additional 30+ hours a week for football make it impossible.

“I can’t thank each of you enough for the support you’ve given me and this program. I’m confident that God has amazing things in store and am excited to see the person he brings in to run the program. Please pray for this season of transition for me, my family, and the entire football community.”

Personal note: It’s tough to see Joel go. He was gracious even before I came to work at the Star-News. He was an outstanding coach and very well respected among his colleagues and reporters alike who covered his program over the years. He will always be remembered as the coach who took a program from the bottom and worked it into a football power that it is today. The next person coming in will have some big shoes to fill. Maranatha will begin searching for their next coach immediately. Interested candidates should contact Athletic Director, Brian DeHaan, at b_dehaan@mhs-hs.org.

Celebration was 75 years in the making; Monrovia city council hosts parade and rally for Wildcats football team.

CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY FROM THURSDAY’S RALLY

RELATED LINKS

Pasadena Star-News: A perfect 10 for Monrovia

Pasadena Star-News: Monrovia should just size up the rings now

Pasadena Star-News: Forgetting the past

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

MONROVIA — A celebration 75 years in the making took place Thursday night at Library Park where city dignitaries honored Monrovia High School’s football team for bringing home its first ever CIF-Southern Section championship.

In their 10th finals appearance last month, the Wildcats defeated Whittier Christian, 38-8, to capture the Mid-Valley Division title in front of a standing-room only crowd of 4,557 at Arcadia High.

Prior to bringing home the title, Monrovia was the only school in Southern Section history to reach nine finals appearances without bringing home a divisional title. Monrovia made its first CIF finals appearance in 1935.

The football team and coaching staff rode in a fire truck, school bus and carriage. It departed from Monrovia High heading east on Colorado Boulevard and turned north on Myrtle Avenue in the heart of Old Town District.

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Football: Monrovia championship parade, 6:30 tonight

The city of Monrovia will hold a championship parade for Monrovia High School’s football team beginning at 6:30 tonight. It’ll proceed east on Colorado and head north on Myrtle before arrivig at Library Park, approximately around 7. The parade will have police escort and the footbal team will parade on fire trucks. Monrovia beat Whittier Christian 38-8 for its first ever CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championship. It was the 10th try for the Wildcats. City dignitaries will speak upon arriva, s will Monrovia football coach Ryan Maddox. We will have a story and photo on A1 in Friday’s Star-News,and I’ll also have more inside the sports page.

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Girls Volleyball: Monrovia’s Le’au is the Star-News Player of the Year; Poly’s Beerman earn top coaching honors.

2010 ALL-AREA GIRLS VOLLEYBALL
Player of the Year:
Tirah Le’au, Monrovia, Sr.
Coach of the Year: Steve Beerman, Pasadena Poly

FIRST TEAM
Camille Coffey, Flintridge Sacred Heart, Senior
Alex Daugherty, La Salle, Senior
Taylor DeGraaf, Arcadia, Senior
Alexis Genske, Pasadena Poly, Junior
Eirene Kim, La Caada, Senior
Hannah Schraer, Mayfield, Senior

By Keith Lair, Staff Writer

PASADENA – “The Beast.”

Perhaps there is no other fitting name.

And why not? Tirah Le’au’s relatives carry a sign into Monrovia High School volleyball matches with that moniker printed on it, next to her number 5. They would chant “Tir-ah” in an endearing way and stomp their feet in appreciation of a wicked spike.

She hit the ball harder than any other player in the San Gabriel Valley in 2010. Sets came to the front row. Sets came to the back row, where she was equally as powerful. Picking up 30-40 kills a match was standard procedure. So were efforts by opposing teams to try and stop the 6-foot University of Georgia-bound outside hitter.

“We did not win the league title, but we made improvements,” Le’au said. “I’m happy with how everything went.”

Le’au can put a smashing shot just out of reach of some of the best middle blockers anywhere. She forced opponents to change game plans. It’s why she is the Star-News girls volleyball Player of the Year.

“Let her play her game and stop everyone else,” La Ca ada coach Brock Turner said after the second match of the season against the Wildcats.

The Spartans won that match in four games to clinch the Rio Hondo League title, but the players were crying. Not tears of joy, but because Le’au had almost single-handedly ended La Ca ada’s 112 consecutive-game league winning streak. Le’au had 42 kills, four blocks and a pair of aces.

“I don’t think that any team could have stopped her,” Monrovia coach Wayne Teng said. “They did not have a solution for her. They tried to stop the other players. Our other girls are a little bit inexperienced. We tried to get (Le’au) involved a little more. We needed a little bit more experience in the long run.”

Without any other club players on the Wildcats, Le’au, a four-year starter, could never leave the court.

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New year, new story lines … It’s good to be back.


The money shot: Interviewing TCU QB Andy Dalton alongside ESPN’s Erin Andrews.

BLOG ON THE DISABLED LIST
As you probably already know, several blogs throughout SGVN have been malfunctioning for several days, this blog having the most problems. Entries that I post do not show up for several hours, sometimes days. Because of this, I will not post any new entries unless it’s to update you on the blog or until we’re functioning properly. I wish we had better news, but it is what it is.

I’m not gonna lie to you, I’m glad December is over. The holidays are fun as always, but the schedule sure throws a wrench at you and at times puts havoc on planning and so on. We finished our PrepXtra all-area football magazine, and it’s set to publish Jan. 20 at a newsstand near you. Working on the magazine meant more office writing and less games to cover, but I did get a chance to cover the La Salle/Temple City tournament, which was a lot of fun from start to finish. Watch out for Maranatha when the playoffs roll around. The Minutemen have more size, strength and depth this season. Jeremy Major and Josh Chamberlain are fun to watch, but the hustle and sheer determination from Stephen Van Spronsen is the epitome of a true team player. As I get back in the swing of things here let me know what big games you guys would like to see covered this week. I’ll comb through schedules and make my own list, but it’s always good to get your input as well. We’re also running all-area this week beginning with girls volleyball Tuesday, boys water polo on Wednesday, cross country Thursday and girls tennis on Friday. Also, I know some of you are annoyed with all the spam comments we’re getting on the blog, and our folks here and in Denver are working the servers to fix it. Hopefully it’s resolved soon. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, now let’s get back to it.