By Fred J. Robledo, SGVN twitter.com/sgvtribpreps
The year before April Juarez arrived at Bishop Amat the Lancers won 11 games and finished fourth in the Del Rey League.
There were several surrounding Juarez that helped turned Bishop Amat into a CIF-Southern Section girls soccer power during Juarez’s four-year varsity career at the school, but she undoubtedly was the face of the program and has earned The Tribune girls soccer Player of the Year award for the third consecutive season.
Juarez, a striker with playmaking ability, finished with 26 goals and 26 assists in leading Bishop Amat to a 26-5-3 overall record. The Lancers advanced to the CIF-SS Division 3 title game and the CIF-State Division 3 Southern California Regional final, but came up short in both games.
But it was another spectacular season for Juarez, named the Del Rey League Most Valuable Player after leading the Lancers to their third consecutive league title while also earning All-CIF-SS Division 3 first-team honors.
Juarez led Bishop Amat to its first CIF-SS title ever in winning the Division 3 title a year ago. She finishes her career with 108 goals and 80 assists while her Amat teams amassed a remarkable 99-11-10 overall record in her four-year career. (To continue click thread).
San Gabriel Valley Tribune All-Area
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: April Juarez, Bishop Amat
COACH OF THE YEAR: Tim Tracey, Claremont
Goalkeeper: Heather Seman, St. Lucy’s, Jr.
Defender: Ariana Holmes, Claremont, Jr.
Defender: Kennedy LaNier, St. Lucy’s Jr.
Defender: Karen Parga, Claremont Jr.
Midfielder: Madison Stark, Claremont, So.
Midfielder: Victoria Camaj, St.Lucy’s, Sr.
Midfielder: Yazmin Montoya, Bishop Amat, Jr.
Midfielder: Jeanette Jimenez, San Dimas, Sr.
Forward: Makenzy Doniak, Ayala, Sr.
Forward: Maribel Duran, San Dimas, Sr.
Forward: Jessica Lopez, Sierra Vista, So.
Goalkeeper: Nicole Ragano, Bishop Amar, Sr.
Defender: Kelli Creese, Bonita, Sr.
Defender: Ashley Anh, Diamond Bar, Sr.
Defender: Alyssa Cabral, Bishop Amat, Sr.
Midfielder: Shannon Kent, St. Lucy’s, Sr.
Midfielder: Mimi Rangel, Chino Hills, Jr.
Midfielder: Amber Marini, Walnut, Sr.
Midfielder: Mayra Almazon, South Hills, Sr.
Forward: Rebekah Evans, Claremont, Sr.
Forward: Ashley Gonzales, Chino Hills, So.
Forward: Allison Kung, Wilson, So.
“She’s an incredible player who helped build this program into what it is today,” Bishop Amat coach Ruben Gonzalez said. “She was able to score and make life easier for others by setting them up. She’s the true example of a player that’s great individually while also making the teammates around her better.
“We would have liked to send her out a champion, but we fell a little short. But she helped bring a title here last year, so she’s not leaving without putting a banner in the gym.”
Juarez signed a letter of intent this week with USC, and Gonzalez has no doubt she will make an impact with the Trojans.
“She’s going to leave her mark at some point, she just needs to get a little stronger and faster,” Gonzalez said. “It might take a couple years, but her knowledge and technical ability will carry her a long way.”
A year after finishing second in the Sierra League and flaming out in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 3 playoffs, Claremont turned it around this season and celebrated its first girls soccer title since 1999 in a 2-0 win over defending champion Bishop Amat in the Division 3 title game at Mission Viejo High School.
Claremont, which won the Sierra League, the most competitive in the division, finished the season 27-2-4 in a remarkable defensive display by not giving up a goal in the playoffs, and surrendering just 14 goals all season.
For his efforts, Claremont coach Tim Tracey has been named Tribune Coach of the Year.
Tracey was an assistant when the Wolfpack won their last title in 1999 and took over in 2000. After 12 years, he finally got to raise his own trophy.
“I felt really special for the team,” Tracey said. “Raising the plaque was for the girls. They put forth all the effort.
“Earning this (coach of the year award) says more about the program than me personally. We haven’t changed what we preach or what we do a whole lot, but sometimes you have that collection of girls that put it all together, and that was the group we had.”
The Tribune All-Area first team includes three defenders, four midfielders, three forwards and the goalkeeper of the year in Heather Seman of St. Lucy’s.
Seman, who had nine shutouts, helped the Regents reach the Division 3 semifinals and Division 3 Southern California regional semifinals. She also earned Sierra League first-team honors and Division 3 third-team accolades.
The All-Area first-team strikers are San Dimas senior Maribel Duran, Ayala senior Makenzy Doniak and Sierra Vista sophomore Jessica Lopez.
Duran, on her way to UC Santa Barbara, earned Valle Vista League MVP honors and was a Division 6 first-team selection after helping the Saints go undefeated in league and advance to the Division 6 semifinals. Duran finished with 21 goals and 14 assists.
Lopez, who helped the Dons go undefeated in the Montview League and advance to the Division 6 quarterfinals, led the area in scoring with 34 goals and 29 assists.
Lopez was named Montview League MVP and was a Division 6 first-team selection.
Doniak, who missed a few games while tending to her sister Kylie Doniak, who suffered head injuries in a hit-and-run accident while crossing the street near the University of Texas campus, was one of the best finishers in California and earned Sierra League first-team honors.
Doniak, who will attend the University of Virginia, finished with 12 goals and 11 assists in leading the Bulldogs to the Division 3 quarterfinals.
The Tribune’s first-team midfielders were all talented playmakers in Claremont sophomore Madison Stark, Bishop Amat junior Yazmin Montoya, St. Lucy’s senior Victoria Camaj and San Dimas senior Jeanette Jimenez.
Stark was named most valuable player of the Sierra League and Division 3 after leading the Wolfpack to the league and CIF-SS title. She finished with 20 goals and two assists.
Montoya was one of the area’s best ball-handling midfielders with a knack for finishing. She compiled 11 goals and 10 assists and earned Del Rey League and Division 3 first-team honors.
Camaj, another Sierra League and Division 3 first-team selection who signed a national letter of intent with Fordham University, was a pure midfielder who finished with 13 goals and 17 assists.
Jimenez, crafty with the ball at her feet and finally injury free, had a stellar final season, finishing with 20 goals and 13 assists for the league champion Saints.
Jimenez, who will join Juarez at USC, was a Valle Vista League and Division 6 first-team selection.
Claremont was rewarded for its stingy defense, especially in the postseason, with junior defenders Ariana Holmes and Karen Parga earning All-Area first-team honors.
Parga was a Sierra League and Division 3 first-team pick with Holmes selected to the Sierra first team.
St. Lucy’s senior central defender Kennedy LaNier rounds out the Tribune first-team defense. She was a Sierra League first-team pick and Division 3 second-team selection.
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