Championships aplenty for La Cañada in 2011
Sacred Heart, La Cañada High and Flintridge Prep each captured a CIF Southern Section Division championship or two in the past year.
The Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy girls' soccer team is the top story in town this year. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer / March 1, 2011)
Expectations were exceeded, though, as Sacred Heart put up its greatest season ever with a 23-2-1 record that captured Mission League, CIF Southern Section Division I titles and a runner-up finish in the CIF Southern California Division III Regional championships.
“To go in and beat the teams we beat, mostly on their field, really is an amazing accomplishment,” Tologs co-Coach Frank Pace said. “There's nothing subjective about what we did. …You just look at the scoreboard and see the scores. Nothing was given to us. Everything that we accomplished we earned this season.”
The Tologs did what no other team in the area or San Gabriel Valley has been able to when they won the Division I crown with a 1-0 win over San Clemente on March 4.
There were plenty of other dramatic moments throughout the year for the Tologs. First was their 0-0 (4-3) win over Aliso Niguel in the second round of the Division I tournament thanks to Sacred Heart goalie Lindsay Espe stopping three penalty kicks.
Zeenni shined bright in the semifinal and championship games. She stopped a potential own goal with a clutch sliding stop to propel Sacred Heart to a 1-0 win over Esperanza in the semis after Conti’s sudden-death overtime goal. Zeenni stopped two more shots near the goal line against San Clemente in the championship before her teammate Krista Meaglia scored the only goal of the game in the 69th minute.
Sacred Heart’s season came to halt with a 3-1 loss to Oaks Christian in the championship game of the CIF Southern California Division III Regional Championships tournament. The Tologs defeated Horizon Christian Academy (6-1) and St. Margaret’s (3-0) in the first two rounds.
“For a small school from the Valley, not from Orange County, it's definitely not expected,” co-Coach Kathy Desmond said of the team’s 2011 run. “Everybody had the same goal in mind — Mission League, CIF, state. We got two out of three.”
2 La Cañada High boys’ basketball matches best run under Hofman: It would have been impossible to predict at the beginning of the year that the Spartans would win their first CIF Southern Section Divisional championship in 19 years in 2011. They did more than just that.
La Cañada pulled off several dramatic upsets in the CIF Southern Section Division III-AA and CIF Southern Section State Division III tournaments this past year to match the finest run under 26-year Coach Tom Hofman.
First was a double-overtime victory in the Division III-AA quarterfinals over Bishop Montgomery (72-68), a last-second overtime win over Palm Springs (61-60) in the semifinals followed and a 50-47 win over heavily favored Price in the Division III-AA championship concluded the title run.
“They seem to have a will to win in that last minute and a half,” Hofman said of his team after the win against Price.
La Cañada kept the run going in the state tournament with wins over Crespi (43-42) and Inglewood (60-50) before its season finally came to a halt against La Verne Lutheran (57-47) in the CIF State Division III Southern California regional finals.
“We brought a whole town to their feet,” Hofman said after the La Verne Lutheran game. “For the past two weeks, all they’ve been talking about is La Cañada High basketball.”
There always seemed to be a different hero for La Cañada (30-4, 10-0 in Rio Hondo League), from Mike McGlashan’s ability to seemingly get to the rim at will, Matt Faber’s rebounding and shooting prowess, Dario CiVon’s touch from behind the arc, Sean Mintie and Mason Holle’s ability to shut down their opponents defensively and Riley Moore’s spark off the bench.
“No doubt this is one of, if not the best team, in the school’s history,” Hofman said at the end of the run.
3 Spartans win first softball championship since 1995: Unlike the team above, it was hard to imagine the La Cañada High softball team not winning a CIF Southern Section Division V championship this year with all its talent.
“I felt that we had a very solid club with so much experience,” said La Cañada Coach KC Mathews after his team won the Division V title with a 1-0 win over Beaumont. “I liked my chances.”
The entire season was epitomized by the final game for the No. 1-seeded Spartans, as the squad’s two stars, Lauren O' Leary and Anna Edwards, lifted their team to a championship.