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All-Area Girls' Soccer Player of the Year: Gonzalez soars to another level

All-Area Girls' Soccer Player of the Year: Gonzalez soars to another level
Flintridge Prep senior striker Julia Gonzalez is the All-Area Girls' Soccer Player of the Year. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)

As with her three previous seasons, Flintridge Prep senior forward Julia Gonzalez made a list of goals prior to the 2017-18 campaign.

The striker readied for a season in which the Rebels would defend their Prep League title, win a CIF Southern Section crown and prove to be one of the best teams in Southern California.

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What was not mentioned, however, were individual accolades.

Gonzalez turned in a banner 2016-17 season in which she tallied 31 goals and 22 assists, while she totaled 69 goals through three seasons.

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This past season, she went to another level.

For a girl who listed no individual goals, she certainly finished with a few.

Gonzalez turned herself into the area's greatest scorer in netting a single-season area record of 50 goals and 16 assists that earned her the Prep League Offensive Player of the Year and CIF Southern Section Division III Player of the Year awards.

On a resume bursting with trophies, Gonzalez adds another as the UC Irvine-bound senior is the 2017-18 All-Area Girls' Soccer Player of the Year as voted by the sports writers of the Glendale News-Press, La Cañada Valley Sun and Burbank Leader.

This is Gonzalez' second honor as she won the title following the 2015-16 season.

Gonzalez is her school's third straight recipient and follows friend and teammate Helen Schaefer.

"I've been asked about the scoring and, honestly, I was just trying to do what was best for the team," Gonzalez said. "I wanted to be an unselfish player first and I wasn't focused on scoring goals. I didn't even know how many I had until late in the season."

Gonzalez' 50 goals were seventh-best in California, according to maxpreps.com, and 17th in the nation.

"I’ve been asked about the scoring and, honestly, I was just trying to do what was best for the team."


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"She had an amazing season and an amazing high school career," Rebels goalie Lindsey Uteda said of Gonzalez. "She's just a very talented player; she's poised, she works hard. She's really just an amazing player."

Flintridge Prep's most arduous competition took place during the nonleague schedule.

The Division III Rebels faced 11 upper-division squads and posted a 5-4-2 record made more remarkable given that Flintridge Prep missed Schaefer (35 goals and 28 assists) for 12 matches and Makenna Dominguez (28 goals and 24 assists) for eight matches during that stretch.

"What will always stand out to me is what Julia did at the beginning of the year," Flintridge Prep coach Esteban Chavez said. "What she did in those first 10 to 12 games without our two big forwards was amazing.

"With that schedule, we could have gone winless. She set the tone for what type of season we were going to have."

Gonzalez excelled against a nonleague slate that included Division I foes Mater Dei, Los Alamitos and Harvard-Westlake and Division II stalwarts Bishop Amat, Chaminade and Flintridge Sacred Heart.

Gonzalez scored two goals in the Rebels' 3-2 victory over Mater Dei on Dec. 2, netted a score in a 2-0 win over Wilson on Dec. 7 and tallied a hat trick in Flintridge Prep's 3-1 triumph versus Chaminade on Dec. 26.

Gonzalez finished with 13 goals and three assists in those 11 contests, which accounted for 54% of her team's goals.

"We had a tough schedule," Gonzalez said, "and I just wanted to reassure my teammates that they were doing what they're supposed to be doing. My role was more than just scoring goals, but being part of the support system."

With Dominguez returning on Dec. 22 and Schaefer on Dec. 29, the Rebels morphed into a juggernaut.

Starting with a 2-2 tie against Bishop Amat on Dec. 12, Flintridge Prep reeled off a 26-match unbeaten streak that lasted until the final contest this season.

The Rebels first ran roughshod over the Prep League and finished 10-0 while outscoring league foes, 74-6, with seven shutouts.

Flintridge Prep senior striker Julia Gonzalez scored 50 goals and helped the Rebels to their first CIF title.
Flintridge Prep senior striker Julia Gonzalez scored 50 goals and helped the Rebels to their first CIF title. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)

Gonzalez was most lethal Jan. 16 when she scored four goals in the Rebels' 6-0 beat down of Pasadena Poly.

As for the postseason, the Rebels were a wrecking ball, beating their first three Southern Section Division III opponents by a combined 17-0 tally with Gonzalez scoring three goals and one assist.

Flintridge Prep's first challenge came versus Mayfair, which took a 1-0 lead in its semifinal contest in Lakewood on Feb. 27.

The Rebels tied the match in the 25th minute on a goal from Mika Celeste and went ahead for good, 2-1, on a score from Gonzalez off an assist from Schaefer in the 30th minute. The Rebels eventually secured a 3-2 victory to advance to the Division III championship match.

"It was a big moment for us to finally break through and get to the championship," Schaefer said. "But I'm happy most for the seniors like Julia, who had worked for this for four years. They deserved that day."

Flintridge Prep secured the program's first CIF Southern Section championship with a 3-1 win over Garden Grove Pacifica at Warren High on March 3.

"It was an amazing feeling to win," Gonzalez said. "The thing you don't realize is how fast time goes. I remember when I was a freshman playing on varsity and then before you know it, you're a senior and playing in a championship."

Earning advancement to the Southern California Division III Regional playoffs, Flintridge Prep defeated Los Angeles Narbonne (14-0) and Corona Centennial (1-0) to advance tothe SoCal Division III championship.

A wonderful season ended with a sour note as the Rebels lost to San Diego Academy of Our Lady of Peace, 3-2, in overtime at St. Francis on March 10.

Even with the defeat, Gonzalez checked off many preseason goals, while scoring 50, as well.

"It's really cool to have a record for goals because I never would have imagined that I would have been the one to hold the record," Gonzalez said. "All I thought about was the team and about having a great senior season and it was a great season."

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