Falcons' caretaker on the court

The top-10 female high school athletes of the year were voted on by the Glendale News-Press sports department. These are selections 2-10. See Wednesday's edition for the Female Athlete of the Year.

2 Cassie Pappas, Crescenta Valley basketball, senior — In her final season manning the court for the Falcons, the guard put together a fabulous season that featured her share of team and personal success.

The 2010 All-Area Girls' Basketball Player of the Year, Pappas, who will attend the University of Pennsylvania, scored 755 points and averaged 25.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.1 steals per game for a Crescenta Valley squad that went 24-6 and 12-2 in the Pacific League for second place. The Falcons also reached the quarterfinals for the first time since 2001.

She finished her Crescenta Valley career third on the program' all-time scoring list with 1,938 points.

"She was the leading scorer in our league and she helped get us to the quarters," Crescenta Valley Coach Jason Perez said. "She was definitely one of the top players in the division.

"She got noticed after last year and she put in a lot of hard work this season. She's earned it and all of the hard work has now paid off."

Additionally, Pappas was named the league's co-most valuable player.

3 Kim Fraisse, Crescenta Valley water polo and swimming, junior — Fraisse, a utility player, came into her own playing for a program steeped in tradition. It got to the point where Fraisse's body of work received recognition locally and across the region.

Fraisse finished with a program-record 129 goals and a team-high 53 steals to lead the Falcons to a Pacific League championship. Fraisse had the ability to score clutch goals and keep the Falcons atop their perch in league.

With Fraisse at the helm, Crescenta Valley reached the CIF Southern Section Division IV quarterfinals for the third season in a row. She was voted the league's co-most valuable player after leading the Falcons to an undefeated league championship run at 8-0 and was later voted All-Area Girls' Water Polo Player of the Year.

In addition, Fraisse, who has scored a combined 205 goals the past two seasons, was selected to the All-CIF first team for the second consecutive season.

"The thing with Kim was her ability to take over a game single-handedly," Crescenta Valley Coach Pete Loporchio said. "Kim can do it all on offense and defense."

In swimming, Fraisse won a Pacific League championship as part of the 400-yard freestyle relay in 3 minutes 55.99 seconds.

4 Natalie Zeenni, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy soccer, junior — No matter what responsibility Zeenni was given, she more than met expectations for a Sacred Heart squad rich in talent that would go on to advance to the CIF Southern Section Division II semifinals for the first time and then win the Southern California Division III Regional Championships.

Simply put, Zeenni, the All-Area Girls' Soccer Player of the Year, flourished at center back and the midfield. She captained a Tologs defense that registered a school-record 15 shutouts en route to finishing 22-1-4 and 7-0-3 in the competitive Mission League.

Zeenni was an All-CIF Southern Section Division II first-team member and was voted the league's defensive player of the year, her second straight all-league accolade.

"She became the captain of the defense, which is what we wanted her to do," Sacred Heart co-Coach Frank Pace said. "At the beginning of the year, we were calling the plays, at the end of the year, she was calling her own plays."

5 Erin Ashby, Crescenta Valley softball, junior — After next season, Ashby will head to Stanford University. Before turning her attention to her final season in a Crescenta Valley uniform, Ashby will have some time to reflect on her stellar 2010 campaign.

Ashby, a pitcher, proved she could be the Falcons' go-to athlete. Whether in the circle or at the plate, Ashby enjoyed a tremendous season after making the switch from the infield.

She batted .568 with 38 runs and 32 runs batted in. In the circle, Ashby finished 13-6 with a 1.72 earned-run average and 137 strikeouts to just 25 walks.

Ashby, tabbed the Pacific League's Player of the Year, as well as All-Area Softball Player of the Year, helped the Falcons go 18-9 and 12-2 in league.

She was a first-team All-CIF Southern Section Division III pick and a CalHiSports All-California Second-Team Underclass selection.

"She was the straw that stirred the drink in terms of keeping our program swirling in the right direction," Crescenta Valley Coach Dan Berry said.

6 Alyssa Sovereign, Crescenta Valley softball, senior — The Penn State University-bound Sovereign might have been the best defensive player in the area.

After making the switch from second base to shortstop this season, Sovereign made just four errors and finished with a .958 fielding percentage for a Crescenta Valley squad that placed second in the Pacific League.

Sovereign, an All-Area first-team member, batted .565 (52 for 92) with seven doubles, five home runs and 42 runs batted in. She collected five triples and finished with a .602 on-base percentage.

"I thought she did a tremendous job," Crescenta Valley Coach Dan Berry said. "She chose to do whatever was going to help the team. Making that switch to shortstop said a lot about her."

7 Breeana Koemans, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy soccer, sophomore — Koemans, a forward, helped the Tologs win the Southern California Division III Regionals Championships for the first time after the Tologs charged all the way to the CIF Southern Section Division II semifinals.

Koemans, an All-Area first-team member, finished with 19 goals and a school-record 16 assists for 54 points. She was named to the all-league first team and All-CIF second team. Sacred Heart finished its season at 22-1-4 and 7-0-3 in league.

8 Katie Johnson, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy soccer, sophomore — The forward turned in a huge season for the Tologs, who reached the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs before going on to capture the Southern California Division III Regional Championships crown.

Johnson was the Mission League's Offensive Player of the Year after tallying 23 goals and nine assists for 55 points. The speedy Johnson earned All-Area first-team and All-CIF first-team accolades after helping the Tologs finish 22-1-4 and 7-0-3 in league.

9 Brooke Elby, Flintridge Prep, soccer/track and field, junior — Proved she could do it all for the Rebels while playing midfield and forward on the soccer squad. While missing a good chunk of the season because of an injury, Elby still managed to record 12 goals and eight assists for 32 points and help her team to a share of the Prep League championship.

For her efforts. Elby was named the league's tri-most valuable player and an All-Area first-team selection.

On the track, Elby continued to show promise. Elby finished first in league in the 300 hurdles and 400-meter races.

She had the fastest time in the area in the 300 hurdles in 47.73 seconds, which came when she took eighth at the CIF Southern Section Division IV final at Cerritos College in Norwalk.

10 Melanie Samvalian, Crescenta Valley basketball/track and field, senior — Samvalian, the All-Area Girls' Track and Field Athlete of the Year, came into her own as a top shot putter this season.

For the second consecutive season, Samvalian won a Pacific League championship in the shot put at 37 feet 10 1/2 inches at Glendale High. She then finished fourth at the CIF Southern Section Division I finals at Cerritos College with a personal-best and school-record mark of 38-6.

In basketball, Samvalian played a large role in helping the Falcons advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2001. Crescenta Valley finished 24-6 and 12-2 in league for second place behind Muir. While playing center, Samvalian averaged 4.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.

Others receiving votes: Camille Coffey, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy volleyball, junior; Kira Lee, Flintridge Prep tennis, sophomore; Sofie Munoz, Crescenta Valley water polo, senior; Megan Musashi, Flintridge Prep basketball, senior; Claudia Pham, Crescenta Valley cross-country and track and field, junior.

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