Kayla Mills turns in stellar freshman season at USC

The following are updates on local athletes at the collegiate level.

Kayla Mills (Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, 2013) USC soccer freshman: Less than a year after playing her last game as a Tolog, Mills made her presence known in quick fashion as a Trojan.

Though USC struggled overall, Mills turned in a dynamic debut season, posting a team-high 16 points bolstered by a team-high eight assists, which were double the total of the next teammate. She added four goals, including two game-winners, as she saw playing time in all 20 of the Trojans’ games with 19 starts.

Her exploits led to her being named to the PAC-12 All-Freshman Team.

A forward/midfielder, the former Mission League Most Valuable Player and All-CIF and All-Area selection had a goal and an assist in her very first NCAA game during a 4-1 win over San Diego State on Aug. 23. Mills tallied point in her first four games with three goals and three assists. USC would go 3-0-1 over the span.

On Sept. 15, she had two assists during a 5-1 win over Loyola Marymount. Both those assists set up scores for former Flintridge Sacred Heart teammate Katie Johnson, who tallied a hat trick.

One of Mills’ biggest highlights came Nov. 1, when USC defeated Oregon, 2-1, in overtime on the strength of an unassisted game-winner by Mills that she buried inside the far post.

The Trojans would finish at 8-10-2 overall and went just 3-7-1 in the Pacific 12 Conference.

Zane Archer (Glendale High, 2008) Chapman football senior: A former Nitro and Glendale Community College player, Archer wrapped up his college football playing days as part of a big winning effort, as Chapman upset Cal Lutheran, 37-27, on Nov. 16.

It was the first home win for Chapman over Cal Lutheran since 2007 and concluded an 8-1 season, which matched the best record in Panthers history.

Archer notched his second interception of the season on Cal Lutheran's first drive of the second half. It led to a touchdown for the Panthers that ultimately sealed the game.

Archer's last game saw him tally three tackles, including one for a loss, and the interception.

His best game of the season likely came Oct. 16 in another Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win, as the Panthers beat Occidental, 35-16. Archer had nine tackles and an interception, which he returned for 21 yards.

Playing in all nine games, Archer finished the season with 38 tackles, 3.5 for a loss, 1.5 sacks and two interceptions.

Another former Vaquero, quarterback Kevin Hunter, also wrapped up his days at Chapman. Seeing snaps in six games, Hunter completed five of seven passes for 62 yards and one touchdown. His touchdown, an 11-yarder, came on his only attempt in a 62-21 throttling of Pomona-Pitzer on Oct. 12.

Leah Gagliardi (Crescenta Valley High, 2011) University of North Carolina-Wilmington women’s volleyball junior: North Carolina-Wilmington fell on Nov. 23 in the Colonial Athletic Assn. semifinals against Northeastern, 3-0.

Gagliardi had five kills on the night.

For the season, she finished with 93 kills, playing in 25 of 30 matches and starting in four.

She added 57 blocks and 25 digs.

UNCW finished at 20-10 and 8-6 in conference.

Ryan McAleenan (St. Francis High, 2012) College of the Canyons football freshman: Transferring from San Jose State, the former St. Francis High All-Mission League and All-Area linebacker turned in a stellar season with Canyons.

McAleenan was a unanimous first-team selection to the National Division Northern Conference team as he played a key role in the Cougars' success, which included their first playoff appearance since 2008 and a division title.

COC concluded its season on Nov. 23 with a 56-17 loss to Fullerton in the National Bowl to culminate an 8-3 season in which it won conference with a 5-1 record.

McAleenan played valiantly in the loss, notching a game-high 11 tackles and forcing a fumble.

For the season, McAleenan finished with 64 tackles, which was second-best on the team, 5.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, an interception, six pass break-ups and a forced fumble.

Alenoush Aslanin (Glendale High, 2013) Pasadena City College women’s water polo freshman: While the Lancers struggled to a 2-23 record during the 2013 season, the former Nitro proved to be a bright spot.

As the team’s starting goalkeeper, she tallied 129 saves and recorded 33 steals.

In a 21-18 loss to Los Angeles Trade Tech on Oct. 31, Aslanin was particularly outstanding. She recorded 11 saves, including, according to the school website, three point-blank stops, three stops on man-advantages and one on a five-meter attempt.

“There are plenty of factors for why we've struggled this year, but some key freshmen are giving us reason to think the future could be bright by next year,” PCC Coach Terry Stoddard stated on the school’s website. “We've worked with Alenoush to be more aggressive and more anticipatory defending the cage. Now, we're seeing her go up and block shots and make saves she wasn't doing earlier in the year. She's been one of our best players over the latter part of the year.”

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