Rowland, Diamond Bar, Covina, Duarte are tops in Tribune girls basketball preview

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By Fred J. Robledo
As the high school girls basketball seasons continues through the holidays in preparation for league and the CIF Southern Section playoffs that follow, plenty of area teams have reason to think big.
Duarte advanced to the Division 4AA championship last year, losing to St. Paul 45-44 in the final, and has key players back.
Rowland advanced to the Division 2A semifinals, and returns arguably the best player in Tianna Eaton, the reigning area player of the year.
Diamond Bar advanced to the quarterfinals in Division 1A, one of the toughest divisions in Southern California, and South Hills made it to the Division 3AA quarterfinals.And now there are others looking good in holiday tournaments like Covina, Walnut, Los Altos, West Covina, Bonita, and Glendora, all of whom find themselves in the Tribune’s first top ten rankings of the season.So where does everyone fall in line? Here’s our first look.

1. Rowland
The Raiders went undefeated in the Valle Vista League, earning their first league title since 1988 and parlayed that into a Division 2A semifinal appearance, their first since 1979.
The Raiders, who were a stunning 25-3 last year, will remain in Division 2A and have nearly everyone back in hopes of chasing a championship in a couple of months led by reigning area player of the year Tianna Eaton, who also was a CIF first team selection.
Eaton, headed to UC Riverside, averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds, and she has a fine supporting cast that includes junior Faith Castillo, who plays with a chip on her shoulder, and will likely be the teams’ second-leading scorer.
Also back is junior and two-year starter Nicolle Woo, who was injured most of last year and is huge piece to have back, and junior Rachel Campinia, a strong defender who will be asked to score more this season.
Also keep track of freshman Kaylin Ngo, who already is averaging 10 points for a Raiders team off to a 6-1 start having advanced to the finals of the Bonita tournament, and playing well in this week’s Duarte tournament, hoping to advance to Saturday’s championship.

2. Diamond Bar
The Brahmas return all-around senior Juliana Gamboa, who earned area first team honors last year after averaging 12 points, four rebounds and three steals, and she showed a preview of what her senior year is all about with a quadruple-double this week with 30 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists and 10 steals in a 85-48 victory over Wilson.
The Brahmas, who were 24-5 last year and reached the Division 1A quarterfinals, will remain in Division 1A and will likely be the Palomares League favorites after finishing second to South Hills a year ago.
Another big reason for optimism is senior center Candace Black, who had 19 points and seven rebounds in the win over Wilson, and senior Lauryn Del Campo. Add freshman Karen Shao, and no wonder the Brahmas are off and rolling to a 4-0 start.

3. Covina
A year after finishing 22-7, the Colts return Tribune first-team selection Mariah Sierra, who also was a Division 4AA first team standout after averaging 10 points, eight rebounds and three assists.
The early returns are promising for the Colts, off to a perfect 6-0 start, which includes a 49-36 victory over South Hills in Wednesday’s quarterfinals of its own Covina tournament. The Colts will face Valley View in Friday’s semifinals at 8 p.m.
Along with Sierra, the Colts welcome back senior Diana Navarro, a second-team all-area selection who averaged 10 points, and junior Allison Ayala, a third-team all-area selection from a year ago who averaged 12 points, but who has upped her game, currently leading the team in scoring with an 18 point average through six games.
There is also returning sophomore Mariana Cruz, who averaged nearly 10 points as a freshman, so expect the Colts to give Rowland all it can handle in the chase for the Valle Vista league crown.

4. Duarte
The Falcons had a dream season under first year coach Scott Wiard, advancing to the Division 4AA title game and losing a heartbreaker to St. Paul in the final seconds, 45-44.
The Falcons return 6-foot-7 junior Patricia Morris, who earned area first team honors after averaging 12 points and 11 rebounds, and second-team all-area standout Ryley Thompson, a senior averaging 11 points through the first two weeks.
The Falcons also expect sophomore Delaney Thompson to be a big help, but they graduated super guard MacKenzie Barnes, and though the Falcons remain the Montview League favorites, their success last year has catapulted the Falcons to Division 1A in the first year of division realignment that places teams in divisions based solely on competitive equity, so a deep run in the playoffs will be much more difficult.
The Falcons are off to a 3-1 start, which included a surprising loss to West Covina this week in its own tournament, which makes the chance of the Falcons advancing to the finals on Saturday much more difficult.

5. Walnut
The Mustangs are usually fighting for the Hacienda League title under longtime coach Lori Huckler, but they only finished 15-10 and wound up third in the Hacienda a year ago.
But with nearly everyone back, they’ll be in the league title hunt.
The Mustangs return two all-area third steam standouts in junior Yasmin Dabbous, a forward, and senior Jenna Pitpit, a guard.
The Mustangs are off to a 3-0 start, which includes a pair of wins in this week’s Duarte tournament, defeating Knight 58-32 and Bellflower, 71-39. If the Mustangs defeat Banning on Thursday, they will get a shot at No. 1 Rowland on Friday in the final round of pool play that will determine who advances to Saturday’s championship.

6. Los Altos
The Conquerors were 20-8 last season and finished second to Chino in the Hacienda League, and return nearly everyone, including junior Ilani Wells, who earned second-team all-area honors as a sophomore.
Two seniors to watch out for are Jezteni Espinoza and Kaylee Shozuya, and don’t let the Conquerors’ early 4-2 start fool you, both losses were to quality teams, losing to Sonora in the Whittier tournament and recently to power Roosevelt in the quarterfinals of the Covina tournament.

7. Glendora
The Tartans were 15-12 last year, but were only 3-7 in the strong Palomares League, tying for fourth with Ayala.
Expect the Tartans to be much better, as evidenced by its 4-1 start that includes a 59-53 victory over Burroughs to capture the La Habra tournament last week.
Returning is all-area second team selection Michelle Can, a junior leading the team this season with 11 points a game, but also watch out for junior Alexis Lowden, averaging 10 points and who was named the most valuable player of the La Habra tourney.
Also playing well is junior McKayla Tilton, averaging almost 10 points, and sophomore Kayla Sera.

8. West Covina
The Bulldogs are the biggest surprise in the top ten, and beating Duarte 50-47 was a big reason why.
The Bulldogs were 11-15 last year, but senior Katrina Ponce De Leon, averaging 15 points, is shooting the ball well, and fellow senior Andrea Bustillo is averaging 10 points, and had 20 points in the win over Duarte.
There are also two freshman to keep an eye on. Lauren Bustillos, Andrea’s sister, is playing well and freshman Nikki Thompson notched 11 points in the win over Duarte.
The Bulldogs are 4-2, which includes losses to Rowland and tough Murrieta Valley early, but if they finish the Duarte tournament with wins over Upland and Bell, they’ll advance to Saturday’s championship, which might be a rematch with Rowland.

9. South Hills
The Huskies graduated all-everything Joy Krupa, but returning is all-area second-team guard Denise Wang, who can light it up from distance.
The Huskies were 21-8 last year and aren’t nearly as deep. Their 2-4 start is some reason for concern, but losses to JSerra, Lakewood and Covina are nothing to worry long-term about, but don’t expect a repeat of the Palomares league title. Diamond Bar is clearly the favorite, but the Huskies should battle Bonita, Ayala and Glendora for the next three spots.

10. Bonita
The Bearcats return senior guard Alyssa Ono, named to the all-area third team last season after helping her team finish 19-11 and 7-3 in the Palomares League.
The Bearcats are off to a 4-2 start, which included a first-round victory over Charter Oak in the Covina tournament, however they were knocked out in Wednesday’s quarterfinals by Cantwell Sacred Heart, 49-30.
In addition to Ono, sophomore Sami Riggs is expected to be a big contributor. She had 12 points in the loss to Cantwell.

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Arroyo’s Yesdan Marquez making most of second chance

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It’s been a crazy season for the Arroyo High School football. And at the center of the craziness you’ll usually find Yezdan Marquez.
The standout receiver/defensive back has proven himself to be one of the top two-way players around, and when fans look back on the Knights’ magical 2016 season, Marquez will be one of the names they remember.
When Marquez looks back on it, though, he’ll not only recall the good — and there’s plenty of it to go around — but also the tough lessons learned.
“He’s always got a smile on his face, but there are times I wish he wouldn’t be so jovial,” Arroyo head coach Jim Singiser said. “He’s a light-hearted soul and he loves to play football.”

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Wednesday Recap: Juliana Gamboa had 30 points for Diamond Bar in Lady Cat Classic win

If you have any scores or stats from any local high school sporting events call them into the desk at 626-544-0992 or 0991 or scores@SGVN

Girls basketball
Diamond Bar 85, Wilson 48 — Juliana Gamboa had 30 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists and 10 steals for the Brahmas (4-0) in a Lady Cat Classic contest. Candace Black had 19 points and seven rebounds and Lauryn Del Campo had 14 points for Diamond Bar. Miya Yi had 15 points and Hennessey Hernandez had 11 rebounds for Wilson.
Bishop Amat 46, California 27 — Sienna Jones had 12 points for the Lancers in a nonleague contest Tuesday.
Duarte 48, South Pasadena 39 — Ryley Thompson had 18 points and Patricia Morris had nine points and 16 rebounds for the Falcons (3-0) in a Duarte Tournament win Tuesday.

Boys basketball
Damien 89, Kaiser 66 — Cameron Shelton had 25 points and 10 rebounds and Justin Hemsley had 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Spartans in their home opener Tuesday.
Rowland 63, Cabrillo 57 — Curtis Hong had 25 points and Phillip Aguiniga had 11 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds for the Raiders (4-3) in a nonleague win Tuesday. Jarbas Faria had 12 points for Rowland.
Bishop Amat 59, Aquinas 40 — Ismael Arellano had 21 points and Gjerard Wilson and Noah Guzman both had seven points for the Lancers (5-0) in an Orangewood Academy Tournament victory Tuesday.
Diamond Ranch 82, Don Lugo 39 — Conor Parker had 15 points and Anthony Enrique had 13 points for the Panthers (2-3) in a nonleague win Tuesday.
West Covina 81, Rancho Cucamonga 77 — Nick Hart had 40 points and 10 assists and Darian Nichols had 21 points for the Bulldogs in a nonleague win Tuesday. Adrian Perez had 10 points for West Covina.

Girls soccer
South Hills 4, Northwood 1 — Madison Warren scored twice and Madison Fortich and Daisy Suarez both scored for the Huskies in a Aliso Cup pool-play game Tuesday.
Diamond Bar 0, Brea Olinda 0 — Goalie Samantha Blazek had 11 saves for the Brahmas in a nonleague tie Tuesday.
Charter Oak 2, Southlands Christian 0 — Diana Borbon scored twice and Adela Nunez and Samantha Vallejo both had an assist for the Chargers (3-0) in a nonleague match Tuesday.
Diamond Ranch 3, Sierra Vista 1 — Sarah Taghaboni scored twice and Rae Perez scored for the Panthers in a nonleague win.

Boys soccer
West Covina 1, Nogales 1 — Juan Lopez scored for the Bulldogs in a nonleague tie Tuesday.

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Notebook: Bishop Amat, South Hills, Diamond Bar in Aliso Cup; Walnut/Charter Oak name new coaches

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By Fred J. Robledo
Bishop Amat, South Hills and Diamond Bar girls soccer teams are among a talented field in the Aliso Cup girls soccer tournament, which features powerhouses from all over Southern California, and so far local teams have done fairly well.
Bishop Amat, which welcomed the return of super senior Sophia Serafin, has done done well, beating Orange Lutheran 4-1, then falling to a talented Hart squad, 2-1.
Serafin, who scored three goals in the win over Orange Lutheran, earned all-area first team honors as a freshman after scoring 28 goals with 16 assists. But the Stanford commit didn’t play for the Lancers her sophomore and junior seasons, partly due to injuries and club commitments. She’s been in the U.S. national team age-group player pool for a while, but her return makes the Lancers an instant Division 3 threat.
South Hills won the CIF Southern Section Division 3 title and CIF State Division 3 Southern Regional championship last year, and will compete in Division 1 this season.
The Huskies graduated super players like Hailey Zerbel, Amber Marinero and senior Skylar Robledo will be out a while with a knee injury, but the Huskies have a chance to win their group in the Aliso Cup after defeating Northwood 4-1 behind a pair of goals from Maddie Warren, and a 1-1 tie with Etiwanda in round-robin play.
Either South Hills or Etiwanda will advance in the winner’s bracket as the pool champion depending on the Etiwanda-Northwood result on Thursday.
Diamond Bar, which struggled last year, lost a close game to San Clemente 1-0, but gets a chance to bounce back in its second round-robin game on Thursday at Long Beach Poly at 5 p.m.
The eight pool winners advance to the Champions Cup and will play quarterfinal games on Saturday. Teams that finish second and third in group play will advance to consolation brackets.

Duarte, Rowland on a collision course?
Without a doubt, Duarte and Rowland are two of the best girls basketball teams in the San Gabriel Valley, and they could meet in the championship of the Duarte girls basketball title game on Saturday at 6 p.m., if both take care of group play.
But advancing to the final is no guarantee with a small, but talented 10-team field.
Duarte, competing in Pool A, opened round-robin play with a 44-5 win over Bell followed by a 48-25 victory over South Pasadena.
Rowland opened with an easy 76-19 win over Banning, but will likely have to go through Walnut. The Mustangs rolled to a 58-42 win over Knight and a 71-39 victory over Bellflower.
Walnut and Rowland compete in Pool B and will play Friday at 6 p.m., in what will likely decide the winner of its group.
Duarte’s ticket to the final likely goes through Upland, who the Falcons will play on Friday following the Walnut-Rowland game (7:30 p.m.) in what likely will decide the winner in Pool A.

New coches named in baseball, football
Bishop Amat defensive line coach Eric Peralta was named the head football coach at Walnut High this week.
Peralta was a walk-on at Bishop Amat, but he already is a teacher at Walnut, giving the Mustangs an on-campus coach. Peralta has quite a task in front of him. He takes over a squad that was 0-10 this past season and competes in the tough Hacienda League with Los Altos, Charter Oak, and West Covina.
Charter Oak baseball, which was 15-12 and tied Walnut for the Hacienda League title last season, announced that Elias Chavez will take over the baseball program. Chavez was a longtime assistant coach of Kevin Smith while he was at South Hills and Mt. San Antonio College. Ironically, Chavez and Smith will now face each other with Smith being named the head coach at West Covina a few months ago.

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Damien, Los Altos, Bonita are best in boys basketball preseason Top Ten

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What are the expectations for the East San Gabriel Valley with the 2016-17 high school basketball season in its second week and holiday tournaments in full-go mode?Not much different with the usual contenders hoping to go on deep playoff runs like Bonita, which advanced to the Division 3AA final last season, losing to Oak Park 68-49 in the championship, and then advancing to the CIF State Division III Southern California Regional semifinals.
Damien performed well in being selected to the prestigious Open Division, advancing to the quarterfinals before losing a heartbreaker to Bishop Montgomery, 58-56. Walnut advanced to the Division 1A quarterfinals and Diamond Ranch won the Division 3A title under coach Eric Cooper, but both those teams are expected to take a step back while Los Altos and Workman could be two teams that go on deep playoff runs.Here’s an early look at the Tribune top ten rankings.

1. Damien
Without a doubt, the best show in town and already proving it with a perfect 5-0 start capped with a dominant 97-80 victory over Colony in the championship of the Sierra Vista-Covina boys basketball tournament.
Junior guard Cameron Shelton was named MVP of the tourney, and senior Justin Hemsley and Elijah McCullough were named to the all-tournament team. Add Ezekiel Alley to the group and there’s reason reason to feel optimistic about another great season for coach Mike LeDuc’s Spartans.
Shelton, who scored 39 points in the championship win over Colony, forms a potent dynamic duo along with Hemsley, who added 28 points and 16 rebounds in the title game.
Winning late in the season won’t be easy however, because Damien will compete in Division 1AA — the toughest in Southern California and will have its hands full in the Baseline League, where it has to go head-to-head against defending national and state champion Chino Hills, who is showing no signs of slowing down.

2. Los Altos
The Conquerors have the most exciting guard in the Valley in sophomore Jarod Lucas, who as a freshman averaged 26 points, five rebounds and five assists for the 24-4 Conquerors that shared the Hacienda League with Diamond Ranch. Lucas led all California freshman in scoring.
Lucas is drawing interest from all over the country, and the best is yet to come. He is a must watch for any high school basketball junkie.
Junior Julian Lopez is back after averaging 10 points and is the No. 2 scoring option, and junior Jordan Ramirez and senior Cameron Martin also are back. In fact, Los Altos only graduated one senior who rarely saw playing time, so basically the entire squad is back from a four-loss team hoping for something special.
Los Altos was somewhat unlucky having to compete in the tough 3AA Division a year ago, losing in the second round to Cathedral.
The playoffs figure to be a tough chore again, because the Conquerors will compete in Division 1A — the second toughest division in CIF.

3. Bonita
The Bearcats return a super talented guard in 6-foot-3 Joe Quintana, who shared Palomares League most valuable players honors and helped his team advance to the Division 3AA finals and SoCal regional semifinals.
Quintana averaged 22 points with six rebounds and five assists, but it will be tough replacing Tribune first-team standout Tyler Poepping along with Russell Hernandez, who also graduated. Quintana recently signed with Loyola Marymount after considering Pepperdine, UC Riverside and others.

4. San Dimas
The Saints figure to be the Valle Vista league favorites with senior Ronny Rafeh back, who was a Tribune first-team selection a year ago after averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds. Rafeh also was named to the CIF-SS Division 4AA second team after helping his team finish 21-7.
Also back for the Saints is junior Donnell Leffridge IV, who earned Valle Vista first-team and all-area second team honors.
San Dimas is 3-1 after finishing third in its own San Dimas tournament, beating South Hills 67-59 in the third place-game after losing to Upland in the semifinals.

5. Workman
The defending Montview League champions have been frustrated in recent years by having solid teams that are usually placed in tough playoff divisions because of small school powers. However, with division realignment based purely on competitive equity, the small school giants are gone and the Lobos could be a contender in the 4AA playoffs after finishing 20-8 last year with another solid group back.
The Lobos are already 4-1 with impressive victories over Verbum Dei (69-59) and Compton Centennial (65-62).
Returning for the Lobos is Montview League MVP Oliver Lopez, who averaged 21 points last year. Also back are returning senior All Montview selections in Mario Pena and Art Garcia. Add to that St. Monica transfer Ike Udengwu, a sophmore guard who played on varsity for St. Monica last year and once again, the Lobos have something to feel good about.

6. Bishop Amat
The Lancers have come a long way under coach Brandon Ertle and could be a viable threat in the Division 3AA playoffs, a generous placement for such a talented cast after finishing 22-6 last year.
The Lancers already are off to a 4-0 start beating Bethel Baptist 56-55 to capture the Morro Bay tournament title last week.
Jarren Ford was named the most valuable player with Gjerard Wilson and Hunter Benson named to the all-tournament team.
Wilson is only a sophomore, but he leads the team in scoring with 14 points a game

7. Walnut
The Mustangs lose prolific scoring guard Dwight Ramos, who averaged 38 points and was a Division 1A first-team selection, but the Mustangs are always in the conversation with one of the best programs in the Valley.
But let’s be honest, there will be a huge dropoff from the team that competed for a Hacienda league title a year ago and finished 24-6.
Senior Ryan Dai, junior Dane Johannsen and sophomore Eli Ramos figure to be the trio to watch, but after a 3-2 start and being placed in Division 1A because of recent success could make postseason opportunities difficult.

8. Diamond Ranch
The Panthers lose several key members from last year’s championship team that finished 25-9, including 7-foot-1 center Roman Silva and guard Ryan Haywood, who were both on the Tribune first-team. Also graduating is Tyler McLean, which could explain the 1-3 start.
But the cupboard is not completely bare. Sophomore Coree Joseph is the player to watch averaging 19 points and freshman Conner Parker will be a big help, but the Panthers might be a year away from doing damage again. The Panthers will still be a threat in the Hacienda, but clearly Los Altos is the favorite.

9. Glendora
Coach Marcus Bryan took over a tough situation a year ago replacing legend Mike LeDuc, now at Damien. The Tartans were young and struggled to an 11-16 finish, but the school with one of the richest boys basketball traditions in the Valley is back and off to a 4-1 start and figures to be at least third best behind Bonita and Ayala in the Palomares League.
The Tartans defeated Chaffey, Norte Vista and Chino in the Jurupa Valley tournament, losing only to host Jurupa Valley in the tournament.

10. Rowland
Don’t let the Raiders’ early 3-3 record fool you. The Raiders figure to battle San Dimas for the Valle Vista League title and already own impressive wins over Nogales (69-25), Bell Gardens (72-48) and Burroughs (51-49).
The most impressive result, however, was losing to Rancho Cucamonga by only six points, 68-62, in the San Dimas boys basketball tournament. Rancho Cucamonga won the tournament, is 4-0, and competes in the prestigious Baseline League with Damien and Chino Hills.
Curtis Hong is arguably the Raiders’ best player. He dropped 31 points in the Raiders’ victory over Burroughs.

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Arroyo school officials decided AGAINST hosting state playoff; team shifts to embracing road trip

“They think this is the Poinsettia Bowl,” Arroyo coach Singiser said of his players’ road trip. “They think they’re going to be running routes with Shamu. I guarantee they’re thinking that they’re going to be the ones going to Lawry’s Beef Bowl and Disneyland. They don’t know, and I don’t know.”

arroyo1
By Aram Tolegian
Arroyo High School football head coach Jim Singiser figures if his team isn’t disappointed with having to play two hours away instead of being at home, then why should he be?
The Knights, who could have hosted this Saturday’s CIF State Division 5-A regional bowl game against La Jolla Country Day, will instead be on the road. School administration decided a previous engagement on campus was more important than a home game in the state playoffs.
But that hasn’t bothered the Knights one bit. They are already embracing their assignment of having to play in San Diego by asking aloud whether they’ll get a charter bus and if they can bring Subway sandwiches on the trip.
“They think this is the Poinsettia Bowl,” Singiser said of his players. “They think they’re going to be running routes with Shamu. I guarantee they’re thinking that they’re going to be the ones going to Lawry’s Beef Bowl and Disneyland.
“They don’t know, and I don’t know.”
Arroyo defeated Rancho Mirage in the CIF Southern Section Division 12 championship Saturday night thanks to a successful 2-point conversion in overtime. The Knights enter the next phase of the season at 13-1 and riding high on winning the program’s first CIF championship in 30 years.
During the lead up to last week’s game, the school was supposed to submit paperwork to CIF about whether it would be willing to host a regional bowl playoff game. Singiser said it was brought to his attention by the administration that the school had already scheduled an all-day event that would run into the night and would be unable to host a football game.
“We won our game and I really didn’t think anything of it until the next day when everybody was calling me the next day and saying “You’re playing away, you’re playing away. It should have been a home game,’” Singiser said.
“There was a conflict between the school and the administrators on what they could do on a Saturday with two major events in the same place, I guess. We’ve never been in a situation of hosting a championship game, let alone going beyond that. Strategy-wise, obviously we’d like to be at home.”
At this point in the season, and given the potential that teams will be flat having just won such a big game a week prior, any edge could prove vital. Heck, Arroyo just knocked off a Rancho Mirage team that arrived in El Monte for last Saturday’s game just 45 minutes before kickoff after traveling from the Palm Springs area.
Now, it will be the Knights facing a long road trip. And Arroyo better have fresh legs on defense because it will face a 4,000-yard passer in La Jolla Country Day quarterback Braxton Burmeister.

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Mt. SAC to hold baseball camp

mt-sac-camp

The Mt. San Antonio College baseball program and coach John Knott will conduct a baseball came on Dec. 17-18.
The camp is for kids ages 5-14 and will be held from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day at Mazmanian Field in Walnut.
Cost is for $175. Parking is $4 per day.
For more information, call assistant coach Ryan Doran at (714) 398-5424, or email him at rdoran@mtsac.edu.

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