PLAYER OF THE YEAR: La Serna’s Monique Dorado earned top honor.
(Staff photo by Keith Durflinger)
By Steve Ramirez, SGVN
WHITTIER – La Serna High School came up short in 2010-11 in its quest to win the Del Rio League girls water polo championship and make a good showing the CIF-Southern Section divisional playoffs.
The Lancers made up for it this past season, and one of the big keys was senior center/utility player Monique Dorado, who helped La Serna go undefeated in the Del Rio League and advance to the Division 3 semifinals for the first time in recent memory.
For her efforts, both as a scoring option and team leader, Dorado is the Whittier Daily News Girls Water Polo Player of the Year.
The senior, who was part of a three-pronged scoring attack for the Lancers, is joined on the All-Area team with La Serna teammates Gabby Pierandozzi, Jenel Rivera and Jacqui Verdugo; the Montebello trio of Niki De Leon, Zyania Morales and Jasmine Villalpando; and El Rancho utility Angelica Hernandez.
La Serna’s Erin Brown is Area Coach of the Year.
“We really came together as a team this year,” Dorado said. “Having that, being part of a great team, really helped us go further than we have in the past.
“It was a bad year for me (in 2010-11). We got all our bad experience and made it into a better experience this year. That made me want to work more than I used to do.”
WHITTIER DAILY NEWS ALL-AREA TEAM
Player of the Year – Monique Dorado, La Serna,Senior
Coach of the Year – Erin Brown, La Serna
Jenel Rivera, La Serna, Junior
Gabby Pierandozzi, La Serna, Junior
Niki De Leon, Montebello, Senior
Zyania Morales, Montebello, Senior
Jasmine Villalpando, Montebello, Senior
Angelica Hernandez, El Rancho, Senior
It showed early and late for the Lancers, who battled some of the better teams in the Southern Section before going 5-0 in the Del Rio League, including a redemptive victory over El Rancho, the team that edged the Lancers for the title in 2010-11.
Dorado was part of La Serna’s three-player attack, with teammates Pierandozzi and Rivera. All three scored 33 goals during league play. Dorado, the lone senior of the trio, also had five assists and 24 steals.
She was named Del Rio League MVP and was first team All-CIF-SS Division 3.
“It was a real surprise for me (to get those awards),” Dorado said. “My whole team is my competition, so to reward with me with those means my hard work paid off.
“After playing 13 years, I just never thought I would be All-CIF and MVP of the league.”
The same could be said of the Lancers, who advanced to the semifinals for the first time in recent years, losing to eventual champion Murrieta Valley, 15-7.
Brown guided La Serna to a 22-10 record, which included the Del Rio League title and playoff victories over Chaparral (12-6) and Charter Oak (10-6). The Lancers also had close losses to divisional semifinalists St. Lucy’s (10-9) and Crescenta Valley (13-12).
“I’m really proud of the girls and how hard they worked this season,” Brown said. “We started our season a little bit earlier, did a lot of weight training. They deserved to be (in the division final four). It’s the first time in maybe ever that La Serna was in the semifinals, so it was an accomplishment in itself.”
Rivera was another key for the Lancers, also scoring more than 30 goals, with 29 assists. She was first team All-Del Rio League and All-CIF-SS Division 3.
Pierandozzi, another key player in the offensive attack, and Verdugo, who was solid in goal during the playoffs, were first- and second-team all-league, respectively.
De Leon, Morales and Villalpando helped Montebello advance to the Division 2 semifinals for the second straight season. The Oilers went 22-12 and won the Almont League title before losing in the semifinals to Mater Dei 13-5.
De Leon and Villalpando earned league co-MVP honors and Morales was first team all-league.
De Leon and Morales were first team All-CIF-SS Division 2.
Hernandez, who was Area Player of the Year in 2011, led El Rancho to a 15-12 record, second place in the Del Rio League and the first round of the Division 3 playoffs. She was first-team All-Del Rio League.