Koemans leads All-CIF quartet

While much of the story this season for the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy girls' soccer unfortunately centered around injuries and missing players, it very much also showcased the talents and leadership of two of its seniors and Breeana Koemans and Katelyn Almeida were recognized for those contributions on Monday afternoon with the release of the All-CIF girls' soccer teams.

Koemans was an All-CIF Division I first-team selection, while Almeida was a third-team honoree. They were joined by the Flintridge Prep defensive duo of Whitney Cohen and Abby Letts, who, like the Tologs, saw their seasons end abruptly in the first round of the playoffs, but their talents stood out enough to grab first- and third-team honors in Division III, respectively.

"It's a great honor," said Koemans, who tallied 15 goals and 12 assists during a season in which the Tologs finished second in the Mission League and fell in the opening round of the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs to Capistrano Valley in overtime. "I'm very happy."

It was Koemans' second All-CIF nod, as she gained her first after a standout sophomore season.

"She really got back to the level that she showed as a sophomore," said Tologs co-Coach Frank Pace, noting that an ankle injury at the beginning of Koemans' junior year hindered her last season. "Her skills are obvious. She's just a dynamite player. She's a real soccer player. She can create, she can finish. She can beat you from the outside, she can beat your from the inside. She's got the heart of a lion. The kid's just a champ.

"She scored big goals in big games. The kid scores goals against everybody."

Koemans also stepped up her role as a leader, as did Almeida, with the Tolog tandem leading a team that had a slew of new faces after a rash of injuries and club commitments offered up different starting lineups nearly every game.

Along with Alexa Montgomery, Almeida keyed a defense that allowed but 19 goals in 21 games and tallied eight shutouts. Almeida, who also had a goal and three assists, stepped into the spotlight with the graduation of defender Natalie Zeenni and an injury to Tera Trujillo along with Kayla Mills being moved up to forward.

"She played as well last year as she did this year, but it was more visible and move obvious," said Pace, whose team went 13-5-3. "There was a light that shined on her this year that wasn't there before. She stepped up and led us."

Prep won its third straight crown and finished 15-2-2 on the season after Chino Hills upended it in the opening round of the playoffs.

Cohen and Letts' selections reaffirmed that the Rebels' success was founded on defense, as the team notched 12 shutouts and allowed 11 goals in 19 matches.

Cohen was a junior defender who also had three assists, while Letts had three goals and five assists during her junior season.

While it was the second All-CIF nod for Koemans, it was the first for Almeida, Cohen and Letts. Interestingly enough, last year's All-CIF selections, albeit coming after Sacred Heart won the CIF Division I title and Prep advanced to the Division III quarterfinals, featured a slew of returning players who were shut out this season. Crescenta Valley seniors Mallory Carcich and Dani Busta, despite both turning in fine seasons defensively, did not return, nor did seniors Connell Studenmund and Kate Lyon and junior Casey Cousineau of Flintridge Prep. Sacred Heart's trio of Katie Johnson, Tera Trujilo and Krista Meaglia were All-CIF picks a year ago, but missed the entire season due to injury this year and Mills missed a great deal of the season with club commitments.

Elsewhere in the area: Pasadena Poly's Noel Askins (first team, Division III), Katie Wardlaw (second team) and Sara Mendenhall (third team); La Cañada's Talia Saleh (first team, Division VI), Natalie Ragusa (second team), Haley Austin and Megan Decker (third team); South Pasadena's Taylor Colliau, Jessica Moog (first team, Division VI), Samantha Figueroa, Angelique Ulmer (second team) and Kelly Brady (third team); and Marshall Fundamental's Amarani Hernandez (first team, Division VII), Jackie Jaquez (second team), Quetzali Del Villar and Isabel Robles (third team) were all selected.

grant.gordon@latimes.com

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