The St. Francis High soccer team finished the regular season with a 16-1-1 record--including a 16-match winning streak that ended last week in a 3-3 tie. That's a far cry from the school's previous record for consecutive wins which, according to Coach Cherif Zein, was three games.
The Golden Knights got off to a rather inauspicious start, however, losing their season opener, 1-0, to Nogales.
"It was a shocker. A real blow," said Zein, whose team missed two penalty kicks and outshot the Nobles, 32-4. "I disappeared from town. I drove up to the back of places. I wouldn't even go in the post office."
Even crisp new uniforms couldn't help the Knights.
"We looked sharp in our brand-new uniforms," Zein said. "But we played like maids of honor."
Since then, St. Francis has broken in the uniforms and worn out most of its opponents. The Del Rey League champions are the No. 4 seed in the Southern Section 3-A Division playoffs and will open the playoffs against Lynnwood today at 3 p.m. at St. Francis.
Walk this way: To the pitching staff of the Occidental College baseball team, the strike zone appears to be a shade larger than a postage stamp.
In their first two games last weekend, the Tigers were outscored, 23-3, and walked 21 batters in a pair of losses.
"It's not the record that upsets me, it's the walks," said Coach Jeff Henderson, whose team returns just three starters and includes nine first-year players. "We're young, but I didn't expect us not to throw a strike."
And even though the Tigers are issuing free passes, the coach isn't planning to hand out walking papers.
"By no means are we in a panic," he said. "We're remaining positive because we have the makings of a good ballclub. We're starting to jell a little bit and that's a continuing process--it's not going to happen overnight."
Qualifying exam: Occidental runner Michelle Trimble didn't wait long to qualify for the Division III track and field nationals for the third time in as many years.
Trimble, a three-time cross country and two-time track All-American, ran the 5,000 meters in 17:31.2, shattering the school record by more than 28 seconds.
But there's a catch: Trimble doesn't plan to run the race in nationals.
"I'm going to run it once more just to lower the school record even more," said Trimble, who missed the record by a second the previous time she ran the 5,000. "If I feel like it's my race, then I'll run it."
Trimble hopes to qualify for the 1,500 and 3,000 meters and run those races in nationals, which is held May 24-27 in Naperville, Ill. She will get a chance to qualify at Occidental on Saturday when the Tigers play host to UC Riverside and Fresno.
Ineligible: Crescenta Valley point guard Raffie Eskandarian, who averaged a team-high 20 points and 5.6 assists a game, was ruled academically ineligible last week.
According to Crescenta Valley Coach John Goffredo, Eskandarian has been under duress all season because of an illness in the family.
Add Falcons: To compensate for the loss of Eskandarian, Goffredo brought junior Lamar Breeding up from the junior varsity to play against Arcadia last Friday.
Breeding says he was calm on the bench but when the coach gave him the nod, he felt a twinge of anxiety.
"I really didn't expect to play that much," he said. "The crowd was up and yelling and I said, 'Oh no. I hope I don't mess up.' "
Breeding took team-high honors in the loss with 19 points.
Goffredo was taken aback by Breeding's offensive output.
"I was looking in the score book after the game and thinking, 19? " Goffredo said. "His play wasn't a surprise, the points were."