Soccer Playoffs: El Rancho to play Friday at Warren HS; La Serna Saturday at Mission Viejo

El Rancho and La Serna high schools will play respective soccer titles Friday and Saturday, respectively, the CIF-Southern Section announced Wednesday.
The Dons, seeking their second consecutive boys division title as well as an undefeated season, will face Crescenta Valley for the Division 4 championship Friday at 5 p.m. at Warren High School in Downey.
El Rancho, ranked nationally by ESPN and the division’s top seed, is 25-0 after rallying for a 3-1 victory at Cathedral in Tuesday’s semifinals. Crescenta Valley, which beat Oak Hills on penalty kicks (5-3) Tuesday, is 19-0-7.
La Serna, seeking its first girls title since 2007, faces Downey for the Division 5 girls title at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at Mission Viejo.
The Lancers, the No. 4 seed, are 20-5-4 after beat top seed Cabrillo, of Lompoc, 4-1 on Tuesday. La Serna, which won a title in 2007, has outscored the opposition, 18-3, during the playoffs. Downey is 17-7-4 after beating No. 2 seed Cajon, 1-0, on Tuesday.
Warren High School is located at 8141 Depalma Street in Downey.
Mission Viejo is located at 25025 Chrisanta Drive in Mission Viejo.

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Soccer Semifinals: La Serna, El Rancho punch their Golden Tickets to finals

Marching On: La Serna players celebrating after knocking off No. 1 see Cabrillo, 4-1, on Tuesday. (Staff photo by Leo Jarzomb)

El Rancho 3, Cathedral 1

LOS ANGELES — El Rancho High School’s soccer team, ranked among the national leaders most of the season, hasn’t played its best during stretches of the playoffs.
But the Dons step up when they need to, which they showed Tueday afternoon at Cathedral High School.
Miguel Vilchis and Federico Bobadilla scored back-to-back goals during the middle of the first half and the Dons will play of its second consecutive CIF-Southern Section Division 4 title after rallying for a 3-1 victory over the Phantoms in the semifinals at Balzano Family Field.
El Rancho, ranked No. 5 nationally by ESPN and the division’s top seed, improved to 26-0 and will face either Crescenta Valley or Oak Hills, of Hesperia, in the championship game, either Friday or Saturday. The day, site and time will be announced by the CIF-SS on Wednesday.
The Phantoms, getting a goal from Axel Mendez, finished 19-4-2.
El Rancho senior forward Francisco Lara: “It feels good to get back to the finals.. But it feels a lot better this time, being undefeated. You want to give it all you can. You can’t expect to win, but just go hard and giveit all you can, and that’s what we did.”

La Serna 4, Cabrillo/Lompoc 1
Soccer is a game of the lower extremities, feet, shins, knees and legs. But La Serna High School’s girls squad also made great use of their upper extremity, the head, in demolishing visiting Lompoc Cabrillo, 4-1, Tuesday in the semifinal round of the CIF-Southern Section, Division 5.
With the victory, the Lancers (18-5-5) qualify for the finals Friday or Saturday against the Downey-Cajon winner.
La Serna used their aggressive play and quickness to knock off the Division’s top-seeded Conquistadores (22-2-6) before a large crowd with partly sunny skies and a chilly breeze. The field showed the remnants of Monday’s rainstorm.
The Lancers had a pair of headers for goals, one each by Michelle Reed and Moriah Earley, which proved to be enough to topple Cabrillo. Reed’s goal came with 28 minutes gone in the first half off a well-placed corner kick by Danielle Telles, who was given an assist.
La Serna coach Tessa Troglia: “I thought we played with a lot of heart. Up to now we’ve been getting away with talent and athleticism, but today we put it all together.”

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SOFTBALL PREVIEW: La Habra the leader of the pack in what promises to be a season for the ages

Above: From left, La Habra’s Maleena Esparza, Vanessa Ciocatto and Shanin Thomas will play major roles for the Highlanders this season. (Staff photo by Keith Durflinger)

1. La Habra
2. La Mirada
3. Whittier Christian
4. La Serna
5. St. Paul

When it comes to high school softball, the Whittier area ranks right up there with any area in the CIF-Southern Section.
This season promises to be no different, with several of the area’s top players already signed to play at four-year schools, leading with Whittier Christian’s Mandie Perez, who signed with national power Arizona; St. Paul’s Brianna West (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo); La Mirada’s Amber Hickman (Towson State) and Rochelle Sablay (Delaware State) and La Habra’s Shanin Thomas (Michigan State) and Maleena Esparza (Northern Illinois).
The latter two have the Highlanders, who begin the season ranked
No. 1 in the area, thinking of possible postseason glory.
La Habra, which also returns four-year lettermen Cami Jacob and pitcher Vanessa Ciocatto, who was solid down the stretch in 2011, is looking at a little redemption in 2012 after following last season’s Freeway League title with a loss in the CIF-SS Division 4 quarterfinals.
“I’m not sure if they are playing with a chip on their shoulder,” said La Habra coach Frank McCarroll, whose Highlanders were 23-7 last season. “But they know what it takes to win games and have success.
“I felt last year we had a good shot to get to the finals, and it didn’t happen. We’ll see if we can continue what we started last year.”
Ciocatto is expected to be solid in the circle after going 10-2 with a 1.41 ERA in a limited role last season.
The offense is formidable with shortstop Esparza, who hit .554 and Thomas, who hit .351 with 26 RBIs and scored 23 runs.
Jacob anchors a solid outfield after hitting .355 and scoring 19 runs.
“It’s a veteran team,” McCarroll said. “We have four four-year lettermen and five kids who have played a lot of softball.
“They are hoping to get after it on the field and defend the league title.”
Here’s a brief look at the rest of the area top five:
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Cantwell to play for first CIF-SS boys basketball title on Thursday at Anaheim Arena

Staff Photo by Watchara Phomicinda

The CIF-Southern Section office has spoken — the Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary boys basketball team’s big day will come Thursday.
The section announced Sunday that the Division 4A boys championship title game between the No. 3 seed Cardinals, who are in the title game for the first time in school history, and No 1 Pacific Hills will be Thursday at 3 p.m at Anaheim Arena.
Cantwell has made an incredible run to its first divisional title game in the school’s 71 history, transforming from a 2-25 season a year ago to 28-4 this season. The Cardinal’s, led by super junior Jose Estrada’s 50 points, including a 25-point third quarter, advanced with a 82-62 victory over Ontario Christian on Friday.
Tickets are priced at $13 and $7, with parking $12.

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St. Paul comes up short – again…but are state playoffs in Swordsmen’s future?

Above: St. Paul’s Pricilla Hidalgo drives to the basket past Brentwood’s
Kennedy Martin in the first half of Saturday’s CIF-SS playoff basketball
game. Brentwood won, 49-41.
(Staff photo by Keith Birmingham)

BRENTWOOD – For the third consecutive season the St.Paul girls basketball team couldn’t get over the final hump and get into the championship game.
The host Brentwood Eagles proved to be too much down the stretch and defeated the Swordsmen 49-41 in a CIF Southern Section Division 4A semifinal Saturday afternoon.
Brentwood (21-8) will play either Campbell Hall or L.A. Baptist in the division finals next weekend.
St. Paul, a No. 2 seed in the division, dropped to 17-12.
The Eagles were led by sophomore point guard Drew Cabral with a game-high 18 points and sophomore center Kennedy Martin with 16.
St. Paul suffered a huge loss near the end of the second quarter when team leader Priscilla Hidalgo went down with an injury and didn’t return.
Holly Shafer finished with 12 points to lead the Swordsmen and junior forward Cassidy Carrillo had 10.
St. Paul coach Robert Miller: “I thought we battled back when Priscilla went down. It was a five- or six-point game at halftime and arguably our best offensive player goes down. Our younger players did a nice job to stay in the game.”

Brentwood 49, St. Paul 41

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