AREA’S BEST: La Serna’s Savannah Francis is the Whittier Daily News
All-Area Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
(Keith Durflinger / Staff Photographer)
By Steve Ramirez, SGVN
WHITTIER — Savannah Francis’ value to the La Serna High School’s girls soccer team couldn’t be measured in statistics.
The senior, who was neither the area’s top scorer nor had the most assists, was the key factor in the Lancers advancing to the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 final. She gave La Serna a little bit of everything – scoring, controlling the middle of the field and even showing her ability as a defender when asked.
For her efforts, Francis is the Daily News 2011-12 Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
She is joined on the All-Area team by La Serna teammates Jennifer Reed, Danielle Telles and Penny Roman; La Mirada’s Megan Guzman, Madeline Panozzo and Ileen Mejia; Montebello’s Bianca Cardenas and Andrea Pena; California’s Brianna Ramirez; Santa Fe’s Briana Geffre and Whittier Christian’s Brooke Contreras.
La Serna’s Tessa Troglia is Coach of the Year.
“We were really motivated this year after losing in the semifinals the previous season,” Francis said. “We wanted to get to the finals and play for the championship.
“Myself, I played with more composure. Last year, I lost control a bit and had some yellow cards. This year, I tried to stay calm and play my game, because that’s what my team needed.”
2012 DAILY NEWS ALL-AREA GIRLS SOCCER TEAM
Player of the Year – Savannah Francis, La Serna, Sr.
Coach of the Year – Tessa Troglia, La Serna
F – Megan Guzman, La Mirada, Sr.
F – Brianna Ramirez, Cal, Sr.
F – Briana Geffre, Santa Fe, Sr.
F- Madeline Panozzo, La Mirada, Jr.
MF – Brooke Contreras, Whitier Chr., Sr.
MF – Ileen Mejia, La Mirada, Jr.
MF – Bianca Cardenas, Montebello, Jr.
MF – Jennifer Reed, La Serna, Sr.
D – Danielle Telles, La Serna, Jr.
D – Andrea Pena, Montebello, Jr.
GK – Penny Roman, La Serna
F — Moriah Earley, La Serna, Junior
F — Stephanie Serrato, Montebello, Freshman
MF — Sophie Basalone, Whittier Chr., Sophomore
MF — Michelle Reed, La Serna, Freshman
MF — Lizzie Ayson, California, Sophomore
MF — Jordann Sanders, La Serna, Junior
MF — Lauren Duran, Whittier Chr., Senior
D — Elisa Martinez, El Rancho, Junior
D — Saleen George, Santa Fe, Sophomore
D — Alex Kidd, La Serna, Junior
GK — Sarah Carrick, La Mirada, Senior
Francis, who had 10 goals and five assists, proved to be one of the better players in Division 5. She was first-team All-CIF-SS and was Del Rio League Player of the Year.
The Lancers, who lost in the semifinals in 2011, rebounded with another league title, then outscored four opponents by a combined 14-3 to reach the title game.
But it wasn’t a happy ending. Downey outlasted La Serna to score a 2-1 victory in overtime to win the division title.
“I felt our team did really well this year,” said Francis, who will play at the Division I level next season after signing with UC Santa Barbara of the Big West Conference. “I really believe we should have won that game. If we could go back and play it, we would win.
“But I’m really proud of my team and my coach, too. She’s a great coach.”
Troglia has guided La Serna to a division title in 2008, the semifinals last season and the finals this year.
But like her players, this season ended with a sour taste.
“We got better and continued to improve (throughout the season),” said Troglia, whose team finished 20-6-4. “We jelled very well and peaked at the right time. When the playoffs started, we were on fire.
“It was disappointing to end the season that way (in the championship game). We reached our goal of wanting to play for a championship. We did everything to get there, but when we were there it took a little bit more than talent. Downey was relentless and we were a bit too composed. But we had a great year.”
Reed, Telles and Roman were big pieces to La Serna’s run to the Division 5 finals. Telles, arguably one of the better defenders in the area, was first-team All-Division 5 and All-Del Rio League. Roman, at goalkeeper, was first-team All-Division 5 while Reed, at midfielder, was first-team All-Del Rio.
La Mirada’s road to another Suburban League title was paced by Guzman and Panozzo, two of the better scorers in league. Guzman also was first-team All-Division 3.
Mejia, a midfielder, set the table with her ability to push forward when needed while also controlling the center and helping out in the back line.
Pena and Cardenas were keys to Montebello sharing the Almont League title. Pena, a defender, was league defensive MVP with Cardenas, a midfielder, earning first-team all-league honors.
Ramirez, a forward, helped California finish second in the Del Rio League and advance two rounds in the CIF-SS playoffs. She was offensive player of the year in the Del Rio League and first-team All-Division 5.
Geffre, a forward, was Santa Fe’s top player and earning first-team All-Del Rio League honors. She also signed a Division I scholarship to play at Cal State Northridge next season.
Whittier Christian’s Contreras, who has signed to play at South Carolina State, was one of the top players in Division 4 and was first-team All-CIF-SS.