Water Polo Playoffs: La Canada, Poly advance to finals

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Jubilant Pasadena Poly High players exit the water after their 11-9 win over La Serna High in Wednesday’s CIF-SS Division 5 playoff match. (Leo Jarzomb / Staff Photographer)

DIVISION 5
Poly 11, La Serna 9
Pasadena Poly High School, which suffered a pair of one-goal losses to La Serna during the regular season, knows the feeling.
Dennis Grover scored three goals and the Panthers used a big first quarter en route to an 11-9 victory over the Lancers in a CIF-Southern Section Division 5 semifinal at Mt. SAC.
Poly, also getting two goals each from Omar Dairi, Spencer Rogers and Brock Hudnut and some key saves from Josh Ball, improved to 25-2 and will face Glendale, which beat Riverside Poly, 14-7, in Saturday’s championship match scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at William Woollett Aquatic Center in Irvine.
La Serna (22-8) was led by George Mooney with four goals.
Poly coach Ryan Katsuyama: “When a team beats you (twice), the third time around is all about revenge. These guys were very motivated to win this game. This victory came at a great time for us. It doesn’t matter what happens in the regular season, the wins are bigger in the playoffs, and that’s what we got today.”

DIVISION 3
La Canada 11, Palos Verdes 8
The wild card came through for the La Canada High School water polo team on Wednesday afternoon.
Goalkeeper Jeff Lee made seemingly impossible stops in a CIF-Southern Section Division 3 semifinal game against Palos Verdes at Irvine High’s Woollett Aquatics Center. He stopped shots with his head. He stopped one-on-one and point-blank shots, too.
The result was a harrowing 11-8 victory to send the top seeded Spartans to Saturday’s championship game. La Canada can extract revenge, of sorts, facing Martin Luther King in the 11:30 a.m. game at Woollett. The Wolves of Riverside defeated the La Canada volleyball team in Tuesday’s semifinals. King defeated Mira Costa, 7-6 minutes before the Spartans took to the pool. La Canada and King both defeated the top two teams from the Bay League.
Lee stopped 19 of the Sea Kings’ 36 shots.
La Canada coach Devon Borisoff; “Jeff is a big-game player. He can be a question mark, but he is always at his best in the biggest games in the most pressure-packed games. I don’t know what it is about it. Usually it is the goalie that gets a little nervous. He had one of his best games ever. He was phenomenal.”

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Area athletes make college choices official

Front row, from left, Rachel Albright from Pasadena High School and Amy Zeronian from Marshall Fundamental School; and back row from left, Michelle Floyd and Bradley Haslam of San Marino and Jeremy Major from Marantha signed letters of intent Wednesday. (Walt Mancini / Staff Photographer)

By Steve Ramirez, SGVN
twitter.com/srammy8

Christmas came a day early for 11 area athletes.
That’s the feeling most feel on national signing day, when high school senior student athletes officially commit to the college or university of their choice.
The area’s elated 11 was topped by Maranatha’s Jeremy Major, who signed to play Division I basketball at nearby Pepperdine, but it also featured basketball player Alyson Lock (Loyola Marymount) of Keppel; baseball players Joe Mata (Cal State Bakersfield) of Monrovia and Bradley Haslam (Air Force) of San Marino and softball players Michelle Floyd (Arizona) of San Marino, Rachel Albright (Northern State, South Dakota) of Pasadena, Amy Zeronian (Belmont, Tenn.) of Marshall and the La Canada duo of Annie Monroe and Kelsey Drange, who signed with Loyola Marymount.
La Canada girls volleyball player Kendall Walbrecht and Spartans swimmer Brandon Nguyen signed with UC Davis and Navy, respectively.
“For me, it wasn’t hectic at all,” Major said. “It’s really relief that (signing day) is finally here. It’s a day I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Knowing that I’m going to play basketball on a full-ride scholarship is great.
“I feel more happy for my mom because she doesn’t have to worry about anything. Hard work pays all. It’s all a blessing.”
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Fall National Signing Day: Area athletes expected to sign

Wednesday is fall national signing when non-football athletes sign with their respective colleges. Here’s our short list of area athletes expected to sign. We plan on having the athletes come to our office in Pasadena for a group photo, about 2:30 p.m.
If you are an athlete and are signing, drop me an e-mail at steve.ramirez@sgvn.com

BASEBALL
Joe Mata, Monrovia — Cal State Bakersfield
Bradley Haslam. San Marino –United States Air Force Academy
SOFTBALL
Rachel Albright, Pasadena — Northern State (South Dakota)
Amy Zeronian, Marshall — Belmont (Tenn)
Michelle Floyd, San Marino – Arizona
Alyson Lock, Keppel — Loyola Marymount
Annie Monroe and Kelsey Drange, La Canada — Loyola Marymount
BOYS BASKETBALL
Jeremy Major, Maranatha — Pepperdine
SWIMMING
Brandon Nguyen, La Canada — Navy
GIRLS VOLLEYBALL
Kendall Walbrecht, La Canada — UC Davis

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Star-News Pick’em: San Marino-San Dimas; Muir-WesCo highlight Elite Eight games

REMATCH: San Marino-San Dimas redo highlights Elite Eight round this week.
Staff photo by Keith Birmingham.


Keith Lair and I will go head-to-head in the Star-News Pick’em. Here is this week’s predictions along with how we did last week.

Last Week: Ramirez (7-2); Lair (7-2)
Season: Ramirez (133-54); Lair (136-51)

Last week: Keith and I were even, both missing on La Salle’s loss to Centennial/Compton and Flintridge Prep beating Ribet Academy.

This week: We’re down the Elite Eight, or in the area the Fantastic Five. The big matchups are San Marino at San Dimas in the Mid-Valley Division and Muir at West Covina at the Southeast. I’m going with a split on the West Valley teams, taking Muir over surging West Covina, and San Dimas in a close one over the Titans. Also like Monrovia over South El MOnte, Rio Hondo over Desert and Mission Prep over Flintridge Prep.

Here’s this week’s schedule and predictions:
MID-VALLEY DIVISION
South El Monte at Monrovia — Ramirez (Monrovia); Lair (Monrovia)
San Marino at San Dimas — Ramirez (San Dimas); Lair (San Dimas)
SOUTHEAST DIVISION
Muir at West Covina — Ramirez (Muir); Lair (Muir)
NORTHEAST DIVISION
Rio Hondo at Desert — Ramirez (RHP); Lair (RHP)
Mission Prep vs. Flintridge Prep, site TBA — Ramirez — (MP); Lair (MP)
All games are scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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Friday Night Final: Monrovia, Muir, San Marino, Rio Hondo Prep and Flintridge Prep live to fight another week

California’s Robert Rosa (56) tries to stop Muir’s Andreece Brown (5) during the first half of Friday night’s CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division playoff game. Muir rolled, 44-17.
Staff Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz


It’s five up and four down for the area during the first-round of the CIF-Southern Section divisional football playoffs. Four of the five area winners were expected as favorites Monrovia, Muir, San Marino and Rio Hondo Prep all scored easy wins. The upset special of the night was Flintridge Prep beating Ribet Academy in overtime. And I’m a bit shocked that La Salle was knocked out, losing 12-10 at home to Centennial/Compton. Temple City, Arcadia, and St. Francis also lost.

FEATURED GAME
Muir 44, California 17
PASADENA – The myth about the Muir High football team is that the Mustangs have athletes who play football.
But the reality is that Muir just happens to have football players who can also run fast.
The Mustangs showed it again Friday night.
Andreece Brown rushed for 134 yards and three touchdowns and Joshua Muema-Washington accounted for 234 yards and two scores as Muir overwhelmed visiting California in the second half en route to a 44-17 victory over the Condors in a CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division first-round game.
Muir, which held California to 92 yards in the second half, improved to 8-3 and will play two-time defending division champion West Covina in next week’s second round.
California, which got 80 yards rushing from Aaron Garcia, finished 8-3, losing in the first round for the second consecutive season.
Muir coach John Hardy: “Everybody knows we’ve got speed. But we have football players here at John Muir High School. I’m tired of hearing about how much speed we’ve got. We design plays and we have guys who execute. We’re not just speed guys over here.”
Cal coach Jim Arnold: “Second half, we didn’t finish. We did the same in the last three games (of the regular season). We had the game where we wanted it. They made a couple of good adjustments, but we had three turnovers in a span of three to four minutes. If you do that against these guys, you’re going to pay.”
Muir’s Joshua Muema-Washington: The second half we knew we just had to come out and play harder. We knew we made mistakes in the first half, and we just had to come out and play hard and get the job done.”

FRIDAY’S RECAPS
La Mirada 42, Arcadia 17 – Adam Carrasco rushed for 229 yards and three touchdowns as the Southeast’s top seed rolled to an easy win. Arcadia, getting a 45-yard interception return for a TD from Nick Ryor, finished 4-7.
Rio Hondo Prep 57, Bell-Jeff 6 – The Kares, getting 198 yards rushing from Nate Tayco and 149 and three scores from Colby Rivera, looked every bit like they are going to repeat in the Northeast Division.
Flintridge Prep 34, Ribet 28, OT – Stephan Smith scored on a 2-yard run to force overtime and Clayton Weirrick conected Kareem Ismail for the game-winner in the extra period to win it.
San Marino 42, Schurr 7 – Matt Wofford and Ryan Woods combined to rush for 115 yards in the opening quarter and the Titans rolled into the quarterfinals.
Monrovia 50, Viewpoint 0 – Blake Heyworth threw for 149 yards and four touchdowns as the two-time defending Mid-Valley champs showed they are playoff ready.
Centennial/Compton 12, La Salle 10 – Chris Rabine’s 37-yard field-goal with 9 seconds left was blocked as the Lancers’ dream season came crashing down.
Lompoc 42, St. Francis 7 – Jared Lebowitz was limited to 137 yards passing as the Golden Knights season came to an end.
Paraclete 49, Temple City 7 – The Rams changes proves to be no match for top-seeded Paraclete.

NEXT WEEK’S QUARTERFINALS
Mid-Valley Division

South El Monte at Monrovia
San Marino at San Dimas
Southeast Division
Muir at West Covina
Northeast Division
Rio Hondo at Desert
Mission Prep vs. Flintridge Prep, site TBA
All games are scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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