About Fred Robledo

Fred J. Robledo is the local sports editor for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group

Boys Soccer All-Area: Bishop Amat’s Nathan DiFiori and Memo Gonzalez take top awards

BSOCALLAREA
Top Row (left to right): Mountain View’s Adrian Garcia, El Monte’s Jesus Garcia, Damien’s Garrett Souza, Charter Oak’s Federico Hurtado, Bishop Amat’s David Cabral, Bishop Amat’s Nathan DiFiori and Diamond Bar’s Andre Gamboa
Bottom Row (left to right): Sierra Vista’s Sebastian Ocampo, Damien’s Tim Ebiner, Dimond Bar’s Guy Horcasitas and La Puente’s Josue Horan in West Covina, Calif., on Thursday, March 18, 2015. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

DIFIORIBOYS SOCCER
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Nathan DiFiori, Bishop Amat, Midfielder, Senior

Amat played in arguably one of the toughest leagues in the CIF-Southern Section, battling eventual divisional and state champion Cathedral, who is also the mythical overall state champion for Top Drawer Soccer, which also ranked Cathedral fifth in the country. DiFiori, who finished with a modest seven goals and six assists, was a finalist for player of the year in the Del Rey, which eventually went to Cathedral’s Saul Reyes. But the respect shown to DiFiori, who had a goal and assist in a 4-4 tie against Cathedral, shows what his value was to a Lancers’ team who had one of their best seasons in recent memory, finishing second to Cathedral with a 12-2-4 overall record before bowing out to eventual semifinalist Pasadena in the Division 3 playoffs.
For his effort, the Del Rey first-team selection has been named the San Gabriel Valley Tribune boys soccer player of the year for 2014-15.
“We had a lot of returning seniors with a lot of leadership under our belts,” DiFiori said. “Every game was hard in our league, so every game you knew you had to battle. We knew we were going to have a good year, but part of getting this (player of the year) was the fact I had a lot of good players around me.”

MEMOCOACH OF THE YEAR
Memo Gonzalez, Bishop Amat

The Lancers struggled in recent years just to stay above .500 and were rarely discussed when ranking the area’s best teams, but they showed they were not only in the discussion this season, but arguably the top team around. The Lancers boasted the area’s biggest result, a 4-4 tie against powerful Cathedral in the Del Rey League and a sweep over Salesian, which led to a second-place finish in the Del Rey, which is arguably one of the toughest in the section.
Bishop Amat finished 12-2-4, losing only to Cathedral in a second meeting for the league title and to eventual CIF-SS Division 3 semifinalist Pasadena.
For his efforts, Gonzalez has been named the San Gabriel Valley Tribune boys soccer coach of the year for the 2014-15 season.
“This team had a lot of heart, there was no question the workrate day in and day out was there for us. There’s no question we had a tough league, but I thought we battled, we had 15 seniors and a lot of leadership and it showed.”

First Team
Defender: Josue Horan, La Puente, Senior
Defender: Tim Ebiner, Damien, Sr.
Defender: Adrian Garcia, Mountain View, Sr.
Midfielder: Guy Horcasitas, Diamond Bar, Senior
Midfielder: Jesus Garcia, El Monte, Junior
Midfielder: Andre Gamboa, Diamond Bar, Senior
Midfielder: David Cabral, Bishop Amat, Junior
Midfielder: Garrett Souza, Damien, Senior
Forward: Federico Hurtado, Charter Oak, Sr.
Forward: Sebastian Ocampo, Sierra Vista, Sr.
Goalkeeper: Carlos Ibarria, Northview, Senior

Second Team
Defender: Elmer Jacobs, Sierra Vista, Senior
Defender: Reginaldo Escobedo, Baldwin Park, Senior
Defender: David Alas, Covina, Senior
Defender: Sergio Medina, Baldwin Park, Senior
Midfielder: Xavier Jaime, Arroyo, Senior
Midfielder: Luis Diaz, Covina, Senior
Midfielder: Jayson Gomez, Diamond Ranch, Junior
Forward: Adrian Ramirez, Arroyo, Forward
Forward: Jhonata Batista, South Hills, Forward
Forward: Carlos Sierra, Charter Oak, Junior
Goalkeeper: Alec Arguello, Diamond Bar, Senior

Final Top Ten
1. Bishop Amat (12-2-4)
2. Damien (17-4-3)
3. Diamond Bar (17-6-2)
4. La Puente (15-3-3)
5. Sierra Vista (16-5-3)
6. Diamond Ranch (14-6-3)
7. Arroyo (15-7-1)
8. Charter Oak (18-7-2)
9. Baldwin Park (11-7-5)
10. Covina (11-9)

League champions
Baseline: Damien
Del Rey: Cathedral
Hacienda: Diamond Ranch
Miramonte: Garey
Montview: Baldwin Park
Mission Valley: El Monte
Palomares: Claremont
Valle Vista: Covina

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Girls Soccer All-Area: Bishop Amat’s Hanna Armendariz named player of the year

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Top (left to right): Skylar Robledo (South Hills), Hailey Zerbel (South Hills), Jamie Peters (Bishop Amat), Danielle Herrera (Bishop Amat), Hanna Armendariz (Bishop Amat), Nicole Leggio (St. Lucy’s), Taylor Salgado (Charter Oak).
Bottom (left to right): Jazzmyn Esquivel (Los Altos), Maria Hernandez (Sierra Vista), Marissa Favela (Diamond Bar), Mia Trugerrio (Diamond Bar), Julia Bingham (St. Lucy’s).

armendarizPLAYER OF THE YEAR
Hanna Armendariz, Bishop Amat, Midfielder, Senior

The crafty midfielder did everything for the Lancers girls soccer team, finishing with an area-best 30 goals to go with 15 assists in helping her team to the Del Rey League title.
Armendariz, who is headed to the University of Portland on a soccer scholarship, was named the Del Rey League player of the year and also was selected to the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 first team.
For her efforts and outstanding season, Armendariz also has been selected the San Gabriel Valley Tribune 2014-15 girls soccer player of the year.
“It went really good this year,” Armendariz said. “We were a little rusty in the beginning but everyone pulled through and finished fighting. I have to thank my teammates, I couldn’t do this without them, so i give props to them.”
Armendariz had four games with three or more goals, including a four-goal performance against St. Matthias Academy.
Armendariz, who won a CIF title with the Lancers as a sophomore, helped them reach the quarterfinals and also an at–large berth in the state playoffs.
“I wanted to come out this year and be a good leader for the team,” Armendariz said. “I wanted to be someone they could look up to so I worked hard being the best I could.”

mcmahonCOACH OF THE YEAR
Chris McMahon, Duarte

The Falcons finally closed the gap on Sierra Vista’s dominance in the Montview league, snapping the Dons’ 65-game league winning streak with a 3-2 victory. Sierra Vista won the rematch in the league finale 1-0 in overtime to claim the league title, but the Falcons finished 13-6-1 and won a CIF-SS divisional playoff game to finish its best season in history.
It was quite a turnaround after going 10-9-2 last year and 8-10-2 in 2013.
For his efforts, McMahon has been selected the Tribune 2014-15 girls soccer coach of the year
“I’m very happy with the girls, they battled and got better every game,” McMahon said. “They’re just a great group of girls. They’re already looking forward to playing again and they want to put a club team together so they can train and get ready for next year.”

First Team
Defender: Mia Trugerrio, Diamond Bar, Senior
Defender: Jazzmyn Esquivel, Los Altos, Senior
Defender: Julia Bingham, St. Lucy’s, Junior
Midfielder: Marissa Favela, Diamond Bar, Senior
Midfielder: Skylar Robledo, South Hills, Sophomore
Midfielder: Maria Hernandez, Sierra Vista, Junior
Midfielder: Nicole Leggio, St. Lucy’s, Junior
Forward: Hailey Zerbel, South Hills, Junior
Forward: Jamie Peters, Bishop Amat
Forward: Taylor Salgado, Charter Oak, Junior
Goalkeeper: Danielle Herrera, Bishop Amat, Sophomore

Second Team
Defender: Sabrina May, Diamond Bar, Junior
Defender: Sarah George, Bishop Amat, Junior
Defender: Ronni Cuccia, South Hills, Senior
Midfielder: Zitali Jimenez, Sierra Vista, Sophomore
Midfielder: Giselle Garcia, Sierra Vista, Senior
Midfielder: Sabrina Delgado, Los Altos, Senior
Midfielder: Bria Salazar, Charter Oak, Senior
Forward: Cheyenne Cepeda, San Dimas, Junior
Forward: Amber Marinero, South Hills, Junior
Forward: Alexis Rushlow, Glendora, Senior
Goalkeeper: Amber Henry, Diamond Ranch, Senior

Final Top Ten
1. Bishop Amat (19-9)
2. South Hills (16-6)
3. Los Altos (13-9-1)
4. Diamond Bar (12-8-2)
5. Sierra Vista (21-5-1)
6. Diamond Ranch (12-7-5)
7. Charter Oak (11-11-2)
8. Glendora (8-10-5)
9. Duarte (13-6-1)
10. San Dimas (8-12-2)

League champions
Baseline: Chino Hills
Del Rey: Bishop Amat
Hacienda: Chino
Miramonte: Pomona
Montview: Sierra Vista
Mission Valley: Gabrielino
Palomares: Ayala
Valle Vista: San Dimas

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Damien closes out Division III state title with 70-57 win over Campolindo

STORY: The Damien Spartans capped off a storybook season with a 70-57 win over Northern Regional champion Campolindo on Friday at Haas Pavilion in the Division III State championship game.
The Spartans (29-5) trailed only once, that being at 20-19. They scored on the next possession and never looked back.
Damien led 39-35 after three quarters.
Their biggest lead came at 57-44 with 3:57 left on a bucket by Andy Torices. Jeremy Hemsley tallied 20 points and nine rebounds. Micah Robinson added 17 off the bench.

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Damien hoping to finish the season with a state championship

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DAMIEN PREGAME: Win or lose, Damien High School boys basketball

Damien head coach Matt Dunn reacts after a basket against Cathedral in the second half of the CIF State Division 3 Regional Basketball Final at Colony High School in Ontario, Calif., on Saturday, March 21, 2015. Damien won 68-62. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

Damien head coach Matt Dunn reacts after a basket against Cathedral in the second half of the CIF State Division 3 Regional Basketball Final at Colony High School in Ontario, Calif., on Saturday, March 21, 2015. Damien won 68-62. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

coach Matt Dunn knows that Friday’s CIF State Division 3 championship game is his last with a very special group of players, and he’s OK with any result.
“Six of these guys who are seniors now were on the team as sophomores and two of those guys as freshmen,” Dunn said. “It’s been quite a journey. I think ultimately who they are on our campus and how they’ve represented our program as young men is what I’m proud of.
“This is a fun way to end our journey together.”
It ends at Haas Pavilion on the campus of UC Berkeley on Friday at 4 p.m. Whether it’s a happy ending depends on if the Spartans can get past Campolindo of Moraga.
Damien enters at 28-5. The Spartans beat highly rated Cathedral in last Saturday’s Southern California Regional finals to earn a berth in Friday’s state final. Prior to that state tournament, Damien suffered a loss in the first round in the Southern Section’s Open Division before winning a consolation bracket game.
The Spartans won the rugged Baseline League this season and prior to that played a difficult nonleague tournament schedule in December that Dunn hopes set them up well for moments like Friday.
“We thought this year that we had a chance to have a really special year,” Dunn said. “We thought it would be important to test ourselves in the nonleague. The MaxPreps Tournament in Palm Springs was just incredible. We played four teams and all of them ended up doing well in their state tournaments.

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Damien and new coach Andy Nieto struggling, off to 3-5 start and 1-2 in Baseline

DAMIEN STRUGGLING: Senior left-hander Bailey Falter tossed a one-hit shutout to give the Chino Hills High baseball team its first Baseline League victory this season, defeating Damien 6-0 on the road Wednesday afternoon.
Falter struck out seven batters and walked three to pick up the win. The 6-foot-4 southpaw carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, but with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, James Free broke it up with a single into left field.
“Bailey did an outstanding job for us today,” Huskies coach Kevin Chavez said. “He is coming along as a four-year varsity athlete. He has really matured as a pitcher, which has made him much stronger. He was dominant out there, and it’s tough for teams to beat him.”

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Damien’s Malik Fitts shares starring role with Jeremy Hemsley in road to Friday’s state title

fittsHE FITTS IN JUST FINE: Nobody around the Damien High School boys basketball program is willing to label Malik Fitts as the team’s second fiddle to standout Jeremy Helmsley. He’s too good for that.
But throughout basketball history there has always been a Scottie Pippen to a Michael Jordan. A Russell Westbrook to a Kevin Durant. And for Damien, a Fitts to a Helmsely.
Sure, Helmsley is thee man for the Spartans. Without the San Diego St.-bound guard, Damien likely isn’t playing in Friday’s CIF State Division 3 championship game against Campolindo at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley.

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South Hills baseball takes down Orange County giant Mater Dei, 3-1

HUSKIESBASEBIG WIN OVER ORANGE COUNTY GIANT: The South Hills baseball team showed the depth of its pitching staff with a 3-1 win over Mater Dei in a non-league game on Tuesday.
The Huskies (6-1) used five pitchers in the game and they scattered six hits, struck out seven and walked one in the victory.
“We have two league games this week,” Huskies coach Darren Murphy said. “We came in knowing it was going to be a staff game and all of them knew their role, and they all did a great job.”
The Huskies jumped on top with a pair of runs in the first inning. Frank Ramirez led off with a single and went to second on a wild throw to first.

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Breaking News: South Hills girls basketball coach Tiffany Liang resigns

Liang

South Hills coach Tiffany Liang resigned on Tuesday, though she described it more as a retirement. “I’ve been doing this a long time and in basketball a long time,” Liang said. “I had been thinking about it and just thought it was the right time to spend more time with my family.”
If this is it for Liang, she’s going out on a high note.
Liang, in her eighth season as head coach, had never taken the Huskies past the second round of the divisional playoffs until this season, reaching the Division 3A semifinals, something the Huskies hadn’t done since Liang was a senior at South Hills in 1992. The Huskies finished 24-8 and shared a piece of the Palomares league title, something it hadn’t done since 2002. South Hills also was selected to the Division III state playoffs, beating Tulare before losing to top seed Brea Olinda, a team it led at half.

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Damien starting to size up Campolindo, its opponent for Friday’s Division 3 state championship

 

WHO IS CAMPOLINDO: The itinerary for the Damien High School boys basketball team’s trip to Berkeley for the CIF State Division 3 championship game is just about set.
According to Spartans head coach Matt Dunn, the team will leave Thursday morning, travel by chartered bus and practice upon arrival in the Bay Area. The team will also have a shoot around Friday morning after spending Thursday night in nearby Walnut Creek.
Damien’s game against Campolindo for the state championship is on Friday at 4 p.m. at Haas Pavilion on the campus of UC Berkeley.
“We don’t want to be too close, but we don’t want to be too far,” Dunn said of staying in Walnut Creek. “Our athletic director has done a great job. He’s handled all the logistics stuff, which I really appreciate.
“Every year the last three or four years, we’ve played in a tournament in Northern California. So, the process of going up is familiar to our guys. But obviously the stakes are a little bit different for this game. The challenge is to create an environment in which we can play our best.”

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Walnut expected to name Alfredo Silva its next football coach

Alfredo Silva is expected to be named Walnut High School’s head football coach, replacing Mike O’Shields, who resigned following the season. Silva already has been recommended by school officials and is awaiting board approval before being officially named.
Silva was a special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Whittier College and also has experience coaching at Cal Lutheran and LA Pierce College.
The former Malibu High athletic director most recently has been teaching at Whittier High School.

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Damien supporting cast key to Saturday’s CIF-State Division 3 Regional final

CIF-STATE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA REGIONAL FINALS
At Colony High School, Ontario

Damien vs. Cathedral, 8 p.m.

damienplDAMIEN READY FOR SOCAL FINAL: It’s easy to point to the matchup of two of the top guards in the Southland and get excited for Saturday night’s CIF State Division 3 Southern California Regional final between the Cathedral and Damien High School boys basketball teams.
But Spartans coach Matt Dunn warns that while Damien’s Jeremy Hemsley against the Milan Acquuah is a sexy matchup, the game is likely to come down to which team finds the best supporting cast. Tipoff is 8 p.m. at Colony High.
“I think that both teams are too talented offensively to think that it’s going to end up being a one-on-one type of game,” Dunn said. “Honestly, it will probably come down to which team has their other guys make shots.
“We have had that all year. We’ve had other guys step up and make shots and we’re going to need that again.”

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Bishop Amat baseball struggles in Del Rey opener at rival St. Paul, losing 6-1

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Amat routed by St. Paul: St. Paul High School senior pitcher Emilio Sansores pitched his third complete game of the young baseball season en route to a 6-1 victory over visiting Bishop Amat in a Del Rey League opener for both teams Wednesday afternoon.
Sansores, a right hander, scattered seven hits, struck out five and even threw in some knuckleballs, evening his record at 2-2 and also getting the Swordsmen even on the season at 4-4-1.
“It (win) feels great,” said Sansores, who has been on varsity for three years. “This is my second year beating them.”
Junior catcher Juan Zuniga and sophomore first baseman Damian Lomeli each had two hits for St. Paul, while Amat third baseman Jayson Gonzalez had three hits and a stolen base.

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ALL-AREA: Northview’s Ricky Padilla named wrestler of the year

padillaPADILLA NAMED WRESTLER OF THE YEAR: Northview High School’s Ricky Padilla didn’t reach his goal of winning a CIF State wrestling championship.
But it’s hard call his 2015 season a disappointment. He scored six tournament championships, including CIF-Souhern Section Northern Division and Masters titles. He also placed at the state tournament for the first time.
For his efforts, Padilla is San Gabriel Valley Tribune Wrestler of the Year.
Overall, it was a pretty great year,” said Padilla, who competed at 160 pounds. “I didn’t accomplish what I wanted to do at the end, but it happens. I don’t think that defines my career. I plan on doing better things in college.”

FIRST TEAM
106: Sidney Flores, Bishop Amat, So.
113: David Gonzalez, San Dimas, Sr.
120: Richie Casillas, Northview, Sr.
126: Andres Hooper, Northview, Jr.
132: Andres Estrada, Northview, Sr.
132: Christian Ramirez, Rowland, So.
145: Nigel Ruiz, Bishop Amat, Sr.
145: Joe Dominguez, Northview, Sr.
152: Antonio Zavala, Charter Oak, Sr.
170: Roger Arce, Northview, Sr.
182: Arturo Vasquez, Bassett, Sr.
195: Julian Moreli, San Diams, Sr.
285: Patrick Sanchez, Damien, Sr.

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Damien advances to CIF-State Division III SoCal Regional final with 63-41 blowout over Cantwell

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NEXT STOP, REGIONAL FINALS: Damien knew it was undersized against Cantwell-Sacred Heart in Tuesday’s CIF State Division III Southern California regional semifinal, so it pressed, swiped at balls and doubled-team the Cardinals’ length whenever possible, turning its rematch into a repeat.
The relentless pace helped Damien to a 21-point first-half lead that it never surrendered, leading by double digits the rest of the way to defeat visiting Cantwell 63-41 to reach Saturday’s regional final at Colony High School at 8 p.m.

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