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Quarters at stake for Sacred Heart, Prep

Soccer: Tologs travel to Aliso Niguel, while Rebels play host to Cypress in second-round showdowns.

February 22, 2011|By Grant Gordon,

GLENDALE — Carrying the area banner as the only two remaining girls' soccer teams, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy and Flintridge Prep both face formidable foes in the CIF Southern Section second round with vastly different destinations.

Sacred Heart's Tologs will head south some 70 miles to face host Aliso Niguel at 4 p.m. today in a Division I showdown, while Prep's Rebels won't have to venture far from their classrooms when they host Cypress at 3 p.m. today on the Flintridge Prep campus for their Division III matchup.

For the Rebels, who have often secured the Glendale Sports Complex as their home field, choosing to play on campus in front of an even greater amount of their home fans has been a welcomed change.


"We finally started doing it this year," Flintridge Prep Coach Esteban Chavez said. "The teachers and faculty are there and their friends and family. They love the support.

"I feel like it puts pressure on the other team. I think it just benefits us."

While Chavez is happy to have Cypress having to do the traveling, Sacred Heart co-Coach Frank Pace got exactly what he predicted when the Division I pairings were released.

"I expected, if we won, to see Aliso in the next round," Pace said.

Having gone on the road as an at-large entrant from the South Coast League to defeat Northwood, 2-0, Aliso Niguel (11-6-4) earned an automatic home match against third-seeded Sacred Heart (17-1-1), which is ranked 15th in the country by ESPN Rise.

Having already ventured south to San Diego earlier in the season for a pair of nonleague games, the Tologs have dealt with a long road trip before, but Pace is still cognizant of hoping to keep his players on a bus for as short a period of time before the game as possible.

"We don't want to leave our legs in the bus," said Pace, who said with an early enough kickoff, traffic should be avoidable on the way up and the length of the trip shouldn't be too much of a factor. "It will be a very hostile environment, but our kids have seen that before. Our kids just go out and play."

Led by the likes of reigning All-Area Player of the Year Natalie Zeenni and junior forwards Katie Johnson and Breeana Koemans, Sacred Heart is averaging just over three goals per game this season and is coming off a 5-1 win against Foothill to open the playoffs.

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