San Clemente Is Second at Foothill

From Times Staff Reports

San Clemente won the Santa Ana Foothill Excalibur Invitational the last time the tournament championship game was played in 2003, but the youthful Tritons fell short of that goal Thursday.

The prestigious 32-team girls’ soccer tournament was canceled last season after the second round because of rain that left the fields underwater. San Diego Cathedral unseated the Tritons with a 2-0 victory in the final of the 16th annual event at Foothill.

Sophomore forward CoCo Goodson had a goal and an assist to lead Cathedral (9-2-2), the San Diego Section Division III champion last season. Senior forward Jasmine Namdar, who has committed to Arizona, scored the other goal.

“I love this tournament,” Cathedral Coach Dawn Lee said. “Now we get to go back to San Diego and show all those teams what we’re all about.”

San Clemente (7-5-2) is playing for the first time since 2001-02 without McCall Zerboni, a two-time Southern Section Division I player of the year who helped the team win or share three Division I titles in four years and is now at UCLA. With four freshman starters and only three holdovers from the last division title team of 2003-04, the Tritons were pleased with their runner-up finish.


“We are so rebuilding,” San Clemente Coach Stacey Finnerty said. “This is a great showing for us because it’s a big confidence boost. To come through this now and be runners-up, it’s like, ‘OK, we can do this.’ It’s going to come down to league and the playoffs, and I know these girls can compete.”

Senior goalkeeper Katie Graul and the rest of the Triton defense gave up three goals in five tournament games.

Junior midfielder Kailyn Kugler and sophomore midfielder Meaghan Miller converted penalty kicks to allow San Clemente to win a shootout, 2-1, after the Tritons and Rancho Santa Margarita Tesoro finished in a scoreless tie in a semifinal earlier in the day.

In the third-place game, junior defender Nicole Romanowski scored from 20 yards with an assist from junior midfielder Lauren Hough in the second minute and goalkeeper Emily Hart made the goal stand up as Tesoro (7-4-3) edged Anaheim Esperanza, 1-0. Esperanza is 10-5-2.

The shutout was the third of the season for Hart, a junior.

-- Lauren Peterson


The CaliFlorida Bowl, set for 3 p.m. Saturday at Cal State Fullerton, will feature a number of defensive standouts for each team, led by Colton linebacker Allen Bradford.

Bradford, who was also one of the top running backs this season, is the top-rated linebacker in the nation, according to most recruiting services. He has narrowed his choices to USC and UCLA.

California’s defense also features lineman Derrick Hill of Oakland McClymonds, and defensive backs Jonas Mouton of Venice and Darian Hagan of Los Angeles Crenshaw.

Florida’s defense includes a front line of top national recruits, including 6-2, 274-pound Leslie Stirrups of Tampa Hillsborough. Florida’s defensive ends are 6-3, 233-pound Bryant Miller of Miami Central and 6-4, 244-pound John Paul of Immokalee.

While the offenses might struggle against such blue-chip talent, each team offers plenty of skill and speed to make big plays. Valencia quarterback Michael Herrick, California’s all-time leading passer who is headed to Mississippi, will have Long Beach Poly standouts Terrence Austin and Travon Patterson to throw to down the field. An offensive line including blue-chippers such as Romney Fuga of Huntington Beach Edison, Zack Heberer of San Pedro and Jovon Hayes of Dorsey will try to make room to run for Mission Viejo’s Chane Moline, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame’s Rodney Glass and Sylmar’s C.J. Gable.

Florida’s offense will be led by Tim Tebow of Ponte Vedra Beach Nease, a 6-3, 217-pound dual-threat quarterback, and 5-9, 185-pound running back C.J. Spiller of Lake Butler Union County.

Florida has won the last two games by a total of five points and four of the six played. California last won in 2003, the 26-15 decision the largest margin of victory in the series.

Dan Loumena


Top performers


* Larry Drew, Woodland Hills Taft: Finished with 16 points and eight assists as the Toreadors ended North Hollywood Campbell Hall’s winning streak at 42 games with a 68-51 victory in the semifinals of the Modesto Christian tournament.

* Ryan Byrd, Lake Elsinore Temescal Canyon: Scored 35 points and had 15 rebounds and seven steals in an 80-73 victory over Gardena Serra in the San Diego Torrey Pines American Division championship game.

* Michael Carrillo, Montebello: Made eight three-point baskets and scored 39 points in a 79-70 win over Whittier in the ninth-place semifinals of the Pasadena La Salle/Temple City tournament.

* Dan Morris, Fountain Valley: Made seven three-point baskets and scored 31 points in a 64-61 victory over Temecula Chaparral in the fifth-place semifinals of the Costa Mesa Estancia tournament.


* Dora Hogue, Downey: Scored seven of her 30 points and had three assists in overtime in an 87-79 victory over La Verne Bonita in the fifth-place game of the Rowland Heights Rowland tournament.

* Sami Whitcomb, Ventura Buena: Had 21 points, 15 rebounds and three steals in a 45-34 victory over Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Aquinas in the semifinals of the Pinecrest (Fla.) Miami Palmetto tournament.


* Marcos Padilla, Bell Gardens: Scored the decisive penalty kick in a 5-4 shootout victory over Chino in the Huntington Beach Marina tournament championship game. Teammate Hector Jimenez was selected most valuable player.


* Jenna Natalizio, Irvine: Scored seven goals and had two assists in a 10-6 nonleague victory over Huntington Beach Marina.


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