body diminish his talent.
One could argue that without Sanchez-Figueras' playoff heroics,
St. Francis might not have earned a spot in the CIF Southern Section
Division II title match against fourth-seeded Irvine Woodbridge at 11
a.m. Saturday at Cal State Fullerton.
Sanchez-Figueras, who came to St. Francis a year after it captured
the 2001 Division IV crown, has produced plenty of headlines during
the postseason. In four playoff matches, he's generated four goals
and an assist for the upstart Golden Knights (26-5).
During St. Francis' heart-pounding 2-1 sudden-death win against
Temecula Chaparral in a semifinal match played in inclement weather
conditions, Sanchez-Figueras could be heard coughing and often rubbed
his left ear.
"You have to forget about the ailments," said Sanchez-Figueras,
who assisted on Pat Conway's first of two overtime goals Tuesday.
"It's funny because I was fine during the regular season."
Playing in the shadows of goal scorers like Jeff Buddenbohn and
Luke Postlewaite, a stingy defense featuring Jeff Fawcett, Branden
Izumi and Daniel Caldwell and an elite goalkeeper in Tashi Nakanishi,
Sanchez-Figueras has contributed in fine fashion.
He recorded his first career hat trick in organized competition
March 4 to hand the Golden Knights -- who will vie for their third
CIF championship since 1995 -- a 3-1 second-round win against Santa
He scored the match-winner in overtime in a 3-2 first-round win
March 1 against Agoura. Not too shabby for Sanchez-Figueras, who
scored just two regular-season goals.
"There have been times when I've closed my eyes and pictured
myself scoring goals or getting an assist," said the 16-year-old
Sanchez-Figueras, one of three sophomores on the 19-member squad.
"It's helped me."
Clutching a pair of worn-out white shin guards prior to
Wednesday's practice, Sanchez-Figueras said he might have been a bit
intimidated after he joined St. Francis last season.
Traditionally, the Golden Knights have displayed a no-nonsense
work ethic under veteran Coach Glen Appels. During Appels' 14-year
tenure at St. Francis, he's rarely brought up freshmen to the varsity