GLENDALE — From making the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy soccer team a fixture at or near the top of it's Powerade Fab-50 national rankings throughout the 2010-11 campaign, to ranking it eighth in the country in that poll at season's end, ESPN Rise was at the forefront of acknowledging the historic season that was for the Tologs.
One more flare of recognition for the Tologs went up from ESPN Rise, when it released it's Winter All-American lists Saturday, an honor role that included a first-team nod for junior forward Katie Johnson and a second-team selection for senior defender Natalie Zeenni, the first-ever such honors in program history.
"No question, it's a big honor for our school and it's a big honor for the girls — I think both were deserving, both earned the honors," said Tologs co-Coach Frank Pace, whose team went 23-2-1, won the Mission League title and the CIF Southern Section Division I championship and finished runner-up in the CIF Southern California Regional Championships. "If you take a look at the girls that were selected, [Johnson and Zeenni's] accomplishments and achievements certainly equaled those of the other girls that were selected.
"There's always a degree of subjectivity to these things, but I don't think that anybody could argue with the inclusion of Natalie of Katie to any All-American list."
Based on a combination of players' performance during the past winter season, coaching and media recommendations and recruiting details, the ESPN Rise All-American first, second and third teams included a combined total of 36 players from five different states, led by a total of 17 from California.
"I was excited, it's been one of my goals, so I was really proud of myself," said Johnson, who is committed to USC. "I worked really hard for it.
"All the awards I've won are from league or just from California, but this one's all around [the country], so it's a little bit bigger for me to win."
Johnson, one of only two juniors to make the All-American first team, turned heads this season with 23 goals and 12 assists en route to being named to the All-CIF first-team, as well Mission League Most Valuable Player.
Zeenni, the reigning All-Area Player of the Year and two-time Mission League Most Outstanding Defensive Player, will play at New Mexico next year after a senior campaign in which she was the heart of the Tologs' vaunted defense, scored two goals with three assists and notched her third All-CIF first-team selection.
"It's pretty cool," Zeenni said. "The [All-American] title sounds cool."
Both Johnson and Zeenni were included on the ESPN Rise all-state list, where they were joined by teammates Breeana Koemans, Tera Trujillo and Kayla Mills.
Koemans, a junior forward who is committed to Northeastern, scored 12 goals, made eight assists and was named to all-league first team.
Trujillo, a junior committed to New Mexico, also shined in the midfield and on the backline, while scoring three goals and making four assists. She was named to the All-CIF first team and also made the all-league first team.
Mills, a versatile defender who could play all over the field, was one of just five sophomores to make all-state from California. The USC commit scored five goals with three assists and made the All-CIF and all-league first teams.
"To put five kids on an all-state team in California, that's a pretty good sign that your team had a pretty good year," Pace said. "We always tell the kids that individual honors come from team success and that team success is what has made all these honors, for all of the kids, possible."