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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Masters Wrestling: Davis Dominates

TEMECULA – Santa Fe High School wrestler Joey Davis didn’t get angry. He just got even in the only way he knows how – pure domination.
Davis, a little upset after an official’s decsion cost him a chance to become a four-time CIF-Southern Section divisional champion, followed up last week’s disappointment by cruising to the 160-pound title during Saturday’s CIF-SS Masters Meet at Temecula Valley High School.
Davis, the Chiefs’ first three-time Masters champion, also was named Upper Weight MVP after scoring two victories by pin and three by technical fall, including beating Martin Luther King’s Harland Kistler, 23-6, in the final.
La Habra’s Elder Cruz, who won a Southern Division title last week, was second at 195, with Santa Fe’s Kioni Villalobos placing fifth at 113. All earn spots to next weekend’s CIF State championships, scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.
Davis is making the trip north for the fourth consecutive season.
Joey Davis: “There was a little anger there (this weekend). I felt what happened to be (at the Eastern Division championships) was (bull). I didn’t knock (Agustin Marquez of Shadow Hills) out. It just made me more hungry for this weekend, to dominate. I had two pins and three techs, so I was able to dominate.”


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CIF-SS Boys Basketball playoffs: Believe it or not! Cantwell going to the CIF-SS finals as Estrada lights up Ontario Christian for 50 points, 25 in the third quarter to send the Cardinals to the Division 4A championship game

Staff photo by Watchara Phomicinda
ONTARIO — Hoosiers Lives!
Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary High School has never known what it feels like to play for a CIF-Southern Section boys basketball title — until now..
The Cardinals, in an environment that looked more like a real-life version of the movie ‘Hoosiers,’ got 50 points from super junior Jose Estrada, including 25 in a key third-quarter run, and Cantwell advanced to its first divisional championship game with an 82-62 victory over host Ontario Christian in a Division 4A semifinal before an overlfow crowd.
Estrada, who is averaging more than 30 points and who has scored 156 points in the playoffs, saved his best for the most-important part, scoring all the Cardinals points during a 15-0 run that helped them outscore the Knights, 35-16 in the third for a 71-51 advantage going into the fourth.
The Cardinals (28-4) advance to next week’s championship game at Anaheim Arena against top seed Pacific Hills. CIF-SS will announce the time on Monday.
Cantwell coach George Zedan: “I haven’t been coaching very long. But I’ve never seen anything like that. He got hot at the right time. He’s our best guy, our leader. But he’s also a humble kid. His teammates love him, our fans love him. There’s no arrogance on his part. He just does his job. His job is to score, and that’s what he did.”

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CIF-SS Girls Soccer Playoffs: La Serna cruises into Division 5 semifinals

RIVERSIDE – La Serna High School has had it relatively easy during the first two rounds of the CIF-Southern Section girls soccer playoffs.
Friday was no different for the Lancers.
Moriah Earley scored two goals and Michelle Reed had a goal and two assists as No. 4-seeded La Serna cruised to a 5-0 victory over host Woodcrest Christian in a Division 5 quarterfinal.
The Lancers, also getting two assists from Elisabeth Hernandez and one goal each from Savannah Francis and Jen Reed, improved to 19-5-4 and will host either top-seeded Cabrillo, of Lompoc, or Lakeside in Tuesday’s semifinals.
The Royals, who were held to four shots, two of which were soft directs toward the La Serna goal, finished 14-4-4.
The Lancers, who have outscored the opposition 14-2 in their three playoff victories, showed that trait early, scoring in the 15th and 22nd minutes for a 2-0 lead by halftime. La Serna also dominated play for much of the half, outshooting Woodcrest 10-2 during the first 40 minutes.
Reed broke through early, taking a deep pass from Danielle Telles down the right side before putting a hard shot in the left corner for a 1-0 lead.
La Serna then went up 2-0 seven minutes later on a corner kick. Michelle Reed made a perfect cross pass to Jen Reed, who slipped it across the goal line for the two-goal advantage.
La Serna coach Tessa Troglia: “We’ve been working real hard in practice and that effort is translating (to the games). It’s a reason why we had this success (during the first three rounds). I honestly didn’t even know (what our seed was). That doesn’t matter to us at all. We don’t care about rankings, we don’t care about seedings. End of the day, you have to play your best to beat the best. And we believe we are one of the best teams out here.”

La Serna 5, Woodcrest Chrisitan 0

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CIF-SS Boys Soccer Playoffs: Another round, another win for El Rancho

Above: El Rancho’s Francisco Lara (9) is congratulated by teammates after scoring during Thursday’s 2-1 victory over South Torrance in the CIF-SS Division 4 playoffs. (Staff photo by Keith Durflinger)

PICO RIVERA – Finally, a playoff victory with a little breathing room.
The score wouldn’t indicate it, but after two nail-biters for the defending CIF-Southern Section Division 4 boys’ soccer team El Rancho is one step away from a title game.
The Dons defeated visiting South Torrance, 2-1, in the division quarterfinals Thursday to advance to the semifinals.
Top-seeded and undefeated El Rancho (25-0) will travel to fourth-seeded Cathedral of Los Angeles on Tuesday. Cathedral was a 1-0 overtime winner over Santa Monica on Thursday.
For the second consecutive game, senior forward Francisco Lara scored twice for the Dons.
El Rancho coach Dominic Picon: “This one I don’t think should have been as close as it was. I feel the same way as the last one (a second-round win) and overall we played a lot better in this game than we did in the previous game. The second half was pretty close to domination. I was real happy, offensively, the way we played, especially in that half.”
- John Sherrard
Here’s the rest of the story:
El Rancho 2, South Torrance 1

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CIF-SS Girls Basketball: Playoffs: St. Paul wins thriller, Whittier not so lucky

Above: St. Paul’s Holly Shafer (No. 44) came up big Wednesday in helping the Swordsmen advance to the Division 4A semifinals with a 40-38 win over visiting St. Bonaventure. (Photo by Chris Burt)

St. Paul, after losing in the semifinals last season, will get another shot at dancing for the title after holding on for a 40-38 victory over St. Bonaventure in Division 4A Wednesday.
Whittier wasn’t so fortunate, losing a 55-52 decision to host Redondo in 2AA. The Cardinals finish 25-5.

Division 4A
St. Paul 40, St. Bonaventure 38
Evidently someone knew what they were talking about when the St. Paul girls basketball team was seeded second in the Division 4A CIF-Southern Section playoffs.
The Swordsmen defeated St. Bonaventure, 40-38, in the quarterfinals Wednesday night at St. Paul to advance to their third consecutive semifinal appearance.
St. Paul (17-13), playing in the newly formed CIF divisions, will play at a neutral site to be determined against third-seeded Brentwood on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Brentwood, an at-large team from the Alpha League, was a 52-46 winner over St. Monica Catholic.
No. 2 St. Paul will be trying to advance to their first title game since the 2005 season.
With the Swordsmen holding a two-point lead, 40-38, with just 08.8 remaining, junior Holly Shafer missed both free throws allowing St. Bonaventure one last chance to tie the game. But, after a missed layup by St. Bonaventure junior guard McKenna Hill, St. Paul ran out the clock.
St. Paul coach Robert Miller: “Holly Shafer really stepped up huge for us and that three she hit just before the half was huge.”

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