Capistrano Valley

Coach: Pete Belanto

1998-99 record: 9-16

League record: 4-6


Don’t expect the Cougars to break out of the gate quickly. With two freshman forwards, Jessica Voisard (5-10) and Hallie Steube (5-10), and transfer Nicki Howard (Sr., 5-9) from Dana Hills, there are plenty of chemistry issues at work. With junior guards Sarah Flannagan (5-10) and Lindsay Peloza (5-10), the Cougars will be young, with almost identical players, and Coach Pete Belanto (seventh year, 92-70) can field a quick lineup with no one under 5-8. The Cougars will likely determine who wins the league title, El Toro or San Clemente.

Dana Hills

Coach: Yvonne Sturgeon

1998-99 record: 19-9


League record: 6-4

The Dolphins could experience growing pains under Coach Yvonne Sturgeon, who replaced Shawn Mulligan (two years, 29-23). There is only one starter back in the lineup, point guard Jessica Hardy (Sr., 5-7, 7.1 points, 4.7 assists). Hardy will be joined in the lineup by four sophomores, including center/forward Rachel Anderson (5-11) and forward Kelly Leifer (5-11).

El Toro

Coach: Vincent Avitabile

1998-99 record: 23-6

League record: 10-0

All-county player Giuliana Mendiola (24.8 points, 7.5 assists), El Toro’s only returning starter, will try to win her third consecutive county scoring title. With the graduation of Giuliana’s sister, Gioconda (17.7 points, 7.2 assists), there is serious pressure on teammates to step up so opponents can’t double- and triple-team Mendiola when it matters most. Under Coach Vincent Avitabile (fourth year, 67-18), the Chargers got those complementary performances last season. Those roles now likely fall on three returning players, center/forward Carrie Twaddell (Jr., 6-3), guard Kim Kopp (Sr., 5-6) and guard Amy Shaw (So., 5-8). Freshman guard Sara Brown (5-8) could also be important as El Toro moves into the South Coast League from the Sea View League.

Mission Viejo


Coach: Brandon Bedell

1998-99 record: 8-18

League record: 2-8

Coach Brandon Bedell replaces Jim Irby (seven years, 72-91) and has four starters returning. They might make inroads with the varsity experience of junior point guard Abby Mecham, sophomore forward Meghan O’Donogue (5-11) and two seniors, forward/center Jenny Miller (5-10) and guard Erin O’Donnell. Forward Jennifer Martin (Sr., 5-10) also returns, and center Charlene Stephenson (Soph., 6-0) and forward Tanya Kaltschmid (Jr., 5-10) add size.

San Clemente

Coach: Mary Mulligan

1998-99 record: 23-10

League record: 9-1


San Clemente, like El Toro, figures to battle for the league title with only one returning starter, forward Kimberly Noble (Sr., 5-11, 7.9 points, 6.9 rebounds). Though there’s no one to compete with Mendiola one-on-one, the Tritons appear to have the edge in depth, especially the way forward Whitney Jones (5-10) played as a reserve last season. Jones averaged 7.6 points, 2.5 assists and 4.8 rebounds, and could double those totals. Kristin Jenkins (Jr., 6-1) and Megan Blackshire (Soph., 6-1) compete at center, and returning guards Cassie Kruger and Lindsey Stoudt saw plenty of minutes. Senior guard Kalena Jackson, a transfer from Newport Harbor, adds to San Clemente’s quickness. The Tritons’ press always causes opponents’ problems, but they lack a go-to player. Coach Mary Mulligan (220-129) is in her 15th season.

Trabuco Hills

Coach: Michelle Macintyre

1998-99 record: 6-19

League record: 0-10

Juniors Brooke Bartleson and Natalia Roberts return as starters in a program rebuilding under Michelle Macintyre, a first-year coach. Bartleson, a streaky shooter, is capable of scoring in bunches. The Mustangs will be helped by transfer Susan Leary (Soph.), a point guard from Santa Margarita. Forward Jessie Mitchell (Fr., 5-8) joins Roberts (5-11) and Kim Carl (So., 5-11) in the post. Macintyre replaces Howard Stephens (six years, 70-81).