Coach Bob Myers has been under stress lately, but it has nothing to do with the El Camino College women’s soccer team, which is headed to the state finals at Chabot College in Hayward on Sunday.
For the past six months Myers has been involved in deciding the fate of an accused murderer. The coach was a juror in a Compton murder case that started in June and wasn’t decided until earlier this month.
With Myers tied up in a courtroom, assistant Jim Millinder stepped in and the Warriors haven’t lost a game. El Camino won the Western State Conference title with a 17-0-6 record.
Last week the Warriors won the Southern California championship with a 3-2 overtime victory over Palomar. On Sunday at 10:30 a.m., they will play third-ranked Santa Rosa (17-1-5) for the state title.
“We’re real excited,” said Myers, who prefers pacing the sidelines to sitting in a courtroom. “Millinder has done a wonderful job.”
The Warriors have been led by an array of South Bay players. Sophomore Jennifer Stone (Hawthorne High), freshman Teresa Bateman (West Torrance) and sophomore Amy Alderson (Bishop Montgomery) are the team’s top scorers.
El Camino is also strong in the backfield. Sophomore goalie Valerie Dombrowski (Redondo) and defender Danielle Boyer (Mira Costa) have played key roles in the team’s success.
Myers believes that group of players can bring back El Camino’s first state title. The Warriors have won five Southern California championships under Myers, but they’ve never played for the championship since there was no state tournament for the women until last year. Orange Coast won that title.
The El Camino women’s cross-country team ended a perfect season by winning the state championship earlier this month. The Warriors swept the 10-team field with 77 points. Defending state champ Mt. San Antonio College finished second (89) and Riverside placed third (92).
Sophomore Sharette Garcia led El Camino with a sixth-place finish over the hilly course in Walnut. Mary Ludlow came in second with a 13th-place finish, Diana Tracy finished 24th and Tanya Acosta 33rd.
The El Camino men’s team placed third (76) behind Mt. SAC (71) and Long Beach (66).
David Haskell led the Warriors with a 10th-place finish and Troy Rowtham finished 12th. Ryan Winn placed 17th and Julio Moreno came in 18th.
Ten El Camino players were selected to the first team, seven to the second team and seven earned honorable mention when the Mission Conference football team was announced this week.
On offense, quarterback Rod Harvey, wide receiver Shannon Thompson, tailback Anthony Daigle, lineman David Samperio, tight end Calvert Johnson and kicker Louis Perez made the first team.
Harvey was second to Palomar’s Brett Salisbury in Mission Conference passing. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound sophomore completed 161 of 275 passes for 2,104 yards and 17 touchdowns. Daigle was second to Rancho Santiago’s Estrus Crayton in Mission Conference rushing. The redshirt transfer from Arizona State rushed for 16 touchdowns and 1,100 yards in 114 carries.
On defense, lineman Tom Fakourfar, linebacker Shawn Miller and backs Donavan Gallatin and William Lackey were first-team selections. El Camino’s defense ranked first in the conference in passing and was second overall.
The second-team offense selections are tailback Tony DaCosta, lineman Mike Saffell and punter Scott Peters. Second-team defensive selections are lineman Sean Young, linebackers Andre Howard and Henry Bens and back Anthony Cole.
Offensive linemen Matt Vincent, Jim Justice and Ken Thomas, wide receiver Ray Jones, linebacker Paul Koons, defensive back Eric Nelson and defensive lineman Dalen Leatutufu earned honorable mention.
The annual JC Grid-Wire All-American football team was named this week, but no South Bay players made the first or second team. El Camino had four players earn honorable mention: Daigle, Thompson, Gallatin and Perez.
Six Mission Conference players made the first team and four made the second team. The first team offense selections include quarterback Brett Salisbury (Palomar) and linemen Charlie Williams (Cerritos) and Terry Engle (Riverside). On defense, linebacker Kevin Ashworth (Golden West), back Lawrence Hatch (Orange Coast) and tailback Estrus Crayton (Rancho Santiago) made the first team. Crayton, the league’s top rusher with 1,112 yards, was the all-purpose selection.
El Camino has one more game to savor the glory of a strong running attack. Daigle, the first player to surpass 1,000 yards rushing in six years, won’t return to El Camino for his sophomore season.
The All-Mission Conference player won’t say where he’s going until after Saturday’s Orange County Bowl, but did indicate he won’t return to El Camino.
El Camino Coach John Featherstone said several Western Athletic Conference and Big West schools have shown interest in the 5-11, 195-pound back.
Besides averaging 110 yards a game, Daigle caught 22 passes for 275 yards and five touchdowns this season.