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Johnson, Zeenni score honors

Soccer: Sacred Heart's top two players from 2010-11 lauded by NSCAA.

December 11, 2011|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com

Natalie Zeenni is in college now and Katie Johnson and the rest of the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy soccer team are already moving headlong into a new season.

But earlier this month, the Tologs were presented with a couple of nice reminders of the success of the high school season past.

Johnson was named to the prestigious 2011 National Soccer Coaches Assn. of America High School Girls All America Team and was also named, along with Zeenni, to the 2011 NSCAA High School Girls All-Region VIII Team, which recognizes the best from the Western region of the United States.

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"We announced it [Friday] night to the girls in pregame before the CV match and Katie was gracious to acknowledge her teammates because, while it was an individual honor, Katie acknowledged that honor only comes from team success," said Sacred Heart co-Coach Frank Pace, whose team won the Mission League title and the CIF Southern Section Division I championship last season, making the squad the most successful in the illustrious lore of Sacred Heart. "It was nice that all the girls had a chance to share that moment with Katie and Natalie, even though she's graduated from the program."

Johnson, a senior forward committed to USC, was one of 81 players named to the All-American team and one of 41 forwards to claim the honor. During the 2010-11 campaign, Johnson notched 23 goals and 12 assists for 58 points, leading the Tologs in every offensive category and coming away as the Mission League's leading goal and point scorer (10 goals, four assists for 24 points), while also leading Sacred Heart in the postseason with four goals and four assists.

All-American selections will be recognized at the annual All-America Luncheon, to be held Jan. 14 in Kansas City in conjunction with the 2012 NSCAA Convention.

Zeenni, a senior defender in the Tologs' 2010-11 season and now a freshman at New Mexico, and Johnson, were among 20 players selected to the All-Region VIII squad, representing the top talent from California, Arizona, Washington, Nevada, Hawaii and Alaska.

Zeenni, the reigning All-Area Player of the Year, secured one of just four defender spots up for grabs, whereas the team featured eight midfielders and eight forward spots

"We clearly felt that Natalie was probably the top defender in CIF Division I last year," Pace said.

The teams were not released until December because, as a national award, the voting encompasses spring and fall seasons, in addition to the winter season favored by Southern California.

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