Girls Soccer Preview: Bishop Amat, Los Altos and Walnut ready for another roller-coaster ride

Impact Players: Bishop Amat High School’s April Juarez (left) with Los Altos High School’s Tara Cofer (center) and Walnut High School’s Amber Marani (right).

By Fred J. Robledo
The wealth of girls soccer talent is spread throughout the East San Gabriel Valley, which was proved again last season. Sierra Vista won a CIF-Southern Section Division 7 title for the school’s first-ever team sports championship. Bishop Amat and Los Altos advanced to the Division 4 semifinals, losing heartbreakers and spoiling the anticipation of a rematch after tying in a non-league game earlier in the season. Walnut, St. Lucy’s and Glendora always have been perennial threats, but have suffered competing in tough playoff divisions. (To read the rest of the girls soccer top ten, click thread)

SGVN Girls Soccer pre-season top ten
Team, (2009-10 record)

1. Bishop Amat (27-1-2)
2. Walnut (14-3-4)
3. Los Altos (25-2-2)
4. Ayala (15-9-2)
5. St. Lucy’s (12-10-3)
6. Glendora (11-11-3)
7. San Dimas (16-4-2)
8. Bonita (11-8-3)
9. South Hills (11-9-1)
10. Sierra Vista (24-4-1)

That’s why this season could be the most intriguing with the formation of the Hacienda League and CIF-SS divisional realignments. With Los Altos and Walnut in the Hacienda League along with Bonita and Diamond Ranch – the stage is set for one of the best league races in recent memory. More importantly, the Hacienda will compete in Division 3 along with the Del Rey League and Bishop Amat.

Division 3 also will include the Sierra League, which includes St. Lucy’s, Chino Hills and Claremont and South Hills — which puts many of the area’s top teams in the same division.

Glendora moves to the Baseline and Division 2 where it will have its hands full.

Defending Division 7 champ Sierra Vista moves to Division 6, where it will have to compete against teams from the Valle Vista league like San Dimas, who has enough returning starters to warrant consideration as the Division’s top preseason team.

With tournaments starting and league races beginning in January, here is our annual girls soccer top ten preview.

1. Bishop Amat (27-1-2)

What is there not to like about the Lancers?

The Lancers outscored opponents 118-9 last season and suffered their only loss in the Division 4 semifinals. They return almost everyone except for sweeper Jasmine Roth, who is now at Arizona State.

Junior scorer and reigning player of the year April Juarez is back after scoring an astonishing 35 goals with 25 assists.

Also back is sophomore Yazmin Montoya, who scored 20 goals with 20 assists her freshman season, giving the Lancers a young and dynamic one-two scoring punch.

With other prominent players like Natalie Rivas, Miranda Joya and Alyssa Cabral, who should take over for Roth at sweeper, there is no reason to believe the defending Del Rey League champions won’t be huge favorites to win league again, and compete for the school’s first girls soccer divisional title.

2. Walnut (14-3-4)

The Mustangs won three championship earlier this decade, then leaped to Division 2 and haven’t competed for a title since.

With the Mustangs’ move back to Division 3, they should be in contention again, and will be favored to win the Hacienda League because of its returning backline led by senior

Nikki McKee, arguably the best all-around defender in the area, though McKee also will step into an attacking role at times.

Also returning on the hackline are Megan Leu and Ari Anaya. With goalkeeper Deanne Resplandor back, this will be a very difficult team to score on.

“Our backline is what kept us in a lot of games,” Mustangs coach Lorraine Hansen said. “I always work defense up. I don’t care if we don’t score in the first few games as long as our backline is strong. That’s where it all starts.”

Junior midfielder Amber Marani could be their best all-around scoring threat after scoring seven goals and four assists last year.

Hansen is looking forward to the competition in the Hacienda.

“I always felt our (old) league (San Antonio) never prepared us for the playoffs,” Hansen said. “South Hills gave us a good game, but we didn’t get much competition from anyone else. The Hacienda League gives us a tough game week in and week out.”

3. Los Altos (25-2-2)

The Conquerors graduated super goalkeeper Justine Padilla, but eight starters return from the Miramonte League championship team that lost just two games and advanced to the Division 4 semifinals.

The Conquerors have a one-two scoring punch as good as anyone, and that includes Bishop Amat.

Lauren Stupin might be the area’s best all-around playmaker. She’s already given a verbal commitment to attend Cal State Fullerton, and earned Tribune first-team honors after scoring 26 goals with 15 assists as a junior.
Another huge scoring threat is Tara Cofer, a ball-winning senior who does the dirty work. Cofer is back after netting 19 goals with 12 assists.

The Conquerors also return three sophomore starters on defense in Daysia Avery, Kelly Velasquez and Sarah Becerra along with newcoming freshman defender Kelly Richardson. With Christine Lama replacing Padilla in goal, the Conquerors have a formidable backline.

“We like what we have back but league won’t be easy at all, not with Bonita and Walnut (in the Hacienda),” Los Altos coach Chris Reeder said. “With what Walnut has coming back, they could be the area’s top team, so winning league will be as challenging as ever.”

4. Ayala (15-9-2)

The defending Sierra League champions advanced to the quarterfinals of the Division 2 playoffs, losing 1-0 to Beckman.

The Bulldogs return top scorers Makenzy Doniak, who scored 19 goals with eight assists as a sophomore.

Also returning is senior Alex Rovira, who had nine goals and two assists.
Though the Bulldogs did graduate eight seniors, they return eight players that made the roster as freshman and sophomores, and return most of their backline.

5. St. Lucy’s (12-10-3)

The Regents suffered through an injury-plagued season in 2009-10, but still finished third in the Sierra League and advanced to the second round of the Division 2 playoffs, losing to Flintridge Sacred Heart, who lost in the divisional semifinals but won a state championship.

Most noticeably missing last season was sophomore Victoria Camaj, who scored 10 goals with four assists as a freshman, showing a knack for scoring in big moments.

With Camaj back as a junior, the Regents are in good shape, because they also return junior forward Shannon Kent, who led the team with 11 goals last year.

The biggest addition is senior Alexandra Quincey, a 6-foot-2 defender who left the Regents basketball team to concentrate on soccer.

Regents coach Andy Placentia said Quincey could be better than defender Lynsey Browne, who earned 2009 Tribune player of the year honors.
“She’s that good,” Placentia said of Quincey. “She’s a force with her size and skills in the back.”

6. Glendora (11-11-3)

The Tartans welcome new coach George Sipa, a promiment club soccer coach who hopes to have the Tartans competing in the tougher Baseline League and Division 2.
The Tartans finished second in the Sierra League and lost a first-round playoff game to Hart, but they do return several key players, like junior forward Amie Jepsen, who is back after scoring 11 goals with nine assists to lead her team in scoring.

Junior Alexandra Wilson will help with the scoring load after nontching eight goals and eight assists, plus super defender Jessica Smetherman and sophomore Ellie Jaques are back.

Two other scorers to keep track of include sophomores Priscilla Santos and Ashley Stewart.

7. San Dimas (16-4-2)
The Saints have won three straight Valle Vista League titles, but were ousted in the second round of the Division 6 playoffs, though they didn’t have arguably their best player in the post-season, midfielder Jeanette Jimenez.

With Jimenez back, the Saints can compete with anyone. She handles the ball and distributes as well as anyone, scoring 17 goals with 12 assists as a sophomore.

Also back is senior midfielders Shannon McKee (12 goals, 12 assists), Jamie Quarternik (12 goals, four assists) and junior forward Maribel Duran (15 goals, seven assists).

With Ranchel Jones back in goal, the Saints are heavily favored to win another league title, though newcomer Wilson could give them a run for their money along with
Northview, who boast super scorer Khalalah Todd.

But more importantly, the Saints are a legitimate Division 6 championship threat.

8. Bonita (11-8-3)

The Bearcats finished second to Los Altos in the now defunct Miramonte League, but are always a formidable opponent and will be in the hunt for the Hacienda League title.

They graduated leading scorer Lisa Pinna, but were a young team that has several weapons coming back.

Senior Haille Worrell scored six goals, and junior Ciara Jackson had four goals and three assists. Both will be called on to play much bigger roles.
Junior McKenna Tippings and sophomores Savanna Garcia and Gabby Padilla give the ‘Cats the depth they need to compete.

9. South Hills (11-9-1)

The Huskies’ move to the Sierra League will be a challenging one, but they should be prepared after all their battles with Walnut in the San Antonio League.

The difference, however, is the Sierra League has much more depth so earning a playoff spot will be difficult.

The Huskies lose four-year starter and scoring sensation Natalie Maxey, who had 27 goals her senior season.

However, they welcome back junior forward Mayra Almazan, second on the team in scoring with 12 goals and eight assists.

Sophomore midfielder Nicole Porro and sophomnore goalkeeper Morgan Bello also return along with defenders Cesi Mixco and Jessica Villagomez.
Senior Jocey Orega and Arianna Vaughn hope to help with the scoring load, and there are incoming freshman expected to help too.

10. Sierra Vista (24-4-1)
The Dons were the perfect example of a home-town senior-oriented team that came together to win the schools’ first-team title in history, beating California Math & Science 2-1 to claim the Division 7 championship.

The Dons graduated 17 seniors from that championship team, including the dynamic tandem of Vanessa Carlos and Lizbeth Rodriguez, who combined for 51 goals and 54 assists.

Perhaps the best returning player is goalkeeper Alyssa Lozano, who played a key role in their championship run and sophomore Jasmin Loera, who scored seven goals with two assists as a freshman.

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  • Richard Vaughn

    Hey Frank

    You incorrectly spelled the last name for South Hills’ senior player, Arianna Vaugh. The correct spelling of her last name is Vaughn.

  • Richard Vaughn

    Hey Frank

    You incorrectly spelled the last name for South Hills’ senior player, Arianna Vaugh. The correct spelling of her last name is Vaughn.

  • Richard Vaughn

    Hey Frank

    You incorrectly spelled the last name for South Hills’ senior player, Arianna Vaugh. The correct spelling of her last name is Vaughn.

  • Prep Fan

    FYI – The Sierra league moved down to division 3 this year and the Del Rey league moved up to Division 3. The Montview moved up to Division 6 with the Valle Vista. Many top local girls programs will have to go through each other for the ring.

  • RHS

    These schools’ teams in the Hacienda League are going to crush all of Rowland’s girls sports (except maybe in tennis). So sad, they should be playing in the Valle Vista League.

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  • Reb1980

    I got a chance to catch SH VS. Northview on Thurs. Hell of a game. Northview will be a force to be reckoned with in their League. South hills was lucky to win this game. They should have lost 2-1 at least. Northview’s forward missed to easy goals and another hit the goal post.

  • soccer lvr

    Correction, Sierra Vista’s Lizbeth Rodriguez is a returning player. She is now a senior.

    While it’s true that the majority of the starters left last year as seniors, I do believe the returning players will step it up. SV still has Alyssa Lozano (excellent goal keeper), not to mention Jasmine Loera (midfielder) who is great at controlling the middle. We also have an excellent sweeper, Xochilt Martinez. Of course we have Lizbeth Rodriguez back. And surprisingly I do believe they have found Vanessa Carlos’ replacement.

  • Robert

    Replying to Reb1980 comments.

    I too was at SH VS v. Northview match. It was North View who was lucky the score was not 3-0. South Hills defense, with a tremendous performance by its keeper, shut down K. Todd. Northview had its handfull dealing with SH’s forward, Arianna Vaughn. Northview at times had to cover her with 2 defenders, and they still could not contain her. Especially with that tremendous asset for the go ahead goal.

  • soccer lvr

    That is what the problem is when teams have that one or two strong players, usually the forwards. The defense covers them and noone else steps up.

    That is why SV was so successful last year, even when the defense covered Carlos and Rodriguez, the middle stepped up and scored. Then the defense would cover the middle and leave Carlos/Rodriguez open.

  • Bearcats


    Bonita Bearcats girls varsity team won the Skyhawk tournament this weekend in Fontana, going undefeated! *** LOOKING GOOD! ****

  • saintsgirlsr4real2

    Tonight will tell the tail. Go Saints. You know you can do it.

  • saintsgirlsr4real2

    Bonita team played very well last night. No excuses, it was a great game.

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