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Locals setting goals high

Sacred Heart, ranked No. 1 in the nation by ESPN, leads area CIF hopefuls.

November 24, 2011|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy goalie Lindsey Espe is a returning starter.
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy goalie Lindsey Espe… (Raul Roa/Staff…)

In the chronicle of area soccer, there has never been a season as phenomenally successful as the 2010-11 tour de force put forth by Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy.

Beginning with a run through the always-arduous Mission League and the subsequent emergence as its champion, Sacred Heart then navigated its way through nationally ranked Orange Country competition before defeating San Clemente, 1-0, in the last of a string of nailbiting victories that bestowed the Tologs with their first-ever CIF divisional crown — the CIF Southern Section Division I championship.

It was the first Division I soccer crown won by an area girls' team and capped a truly remarkable season.

For all the triumph experienced by the Tologs, there was also plenty more within the Crescenta Valley and Flintridge Prep programs.

The Falcons won their third consecutive Pacific League title, while the Rebels won their first outright Prep League crown before advancing all the way to the Division III quarterfinals.

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Indeed, it was a soccer season brimming with highlights led most assuredly by the Tologs' phenomenal run. After all was said and done at the conclusion of the 23-2-1 season, a cavalcade of all-state, All-CIF, All-Area and all-league honors were bestowed upon the likes of Natalie Zeenni, Katie Johnson, Breeana Koemans, Krista Meaglia, Kayla Mills, Tera Trujillo, Alexa Montgomery and others.

Thus, the Tologs enter this season with heavy expectations and lofty standing, including No. 1 rankings nationally atop the ESPN High School rankings and in CIF Southern Section Division I.

For Tologs co-Coach Frank Pace, however, he said the team will maintain the same outlook from past seasons.

"I think we'll start the season the same way we started last season with the goal to win the Mission League. Winning our league is as hard as anything we do," Pace said. "Our goal every year is to win Mission League and advance as deep into the playoffs as possible."

At first glance, last year's squad had minimal losses coming into this year. But the loss of three-year starter Zeenni is obviously a large one, as she was a focal point in the program's two most successful seasons ever and was the All-Area Girls' Soccer Player of the Year after both and was the 2011 News-Press Female Athlete of the Year. In addition, the USC-bound Johnson, the New Mexico-bound Trujillo and Meaglia, who scored the CIF-title winning goal against San Clemente, have all incurred serious knee injuries and undergone offseason surgery.

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