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March 16, 1995|MITCH POLIN

END OF THE ROAD

It was a disappointing end to the season for the Cal State Dominguez Hills women's basketball team. The Toros lost to top-seeded UC Davis, 52-42, last week in the NCAA Division II West Regional semifinals.

By any standard, the Toros' season was a smashing success.

Dominguez Hills finished 22-6, its best record in Van Girard's seven seasons as coach. The Toros also won their first California Collegiate Athletic Assn. regular season and postseason tournament titles, made their first NCAA playoff appearance and won their first Division II playoff game.

It was a gratifying season for Girard, who saw his career record improve to 101-87 and was named CCAA coach of the year.

Junior forward Faye Hagan was named CCAA player of the year and senior guard Pam Kirkwood was named to the all-conference first team. Hagan averaged 19.4 points and 9.4 rebounds, and Kirkwood averaged 16.9 points and 9.5 rebounds.

With only Kirkwood and senior forward Trimeka Jackson departing from the starting lineup, the Toros should be among the favorites for the CCAA title next season. In addition to Hagan, Dominguez Hills returns starters Kellie Lennon at center and Gine DeLeon at guard.

The Toros will also benefit from several additions, most notable of which is Harbor College standout Joanne Williams. Williams was an all-state player at Harbor in the 1993-94 season, when the Seahawks won the state title, but sat out last season because of a knee injury.

SOCCER HONOR

High-scoring forward Tony Rodriguez has accomplished a first for the Harbor College men's soccer program.

Rodriguez, a sophomore from Banning High, has been named to the community college All-America team by the National Soccer Coaches Assn. of America.

It is the first time in the college's 20 years of soccer competition that a player has received the honor. Rodriguez was one of only two players from Southern California named to the 22-man squad; the other was Prawit Namutawong of East Los Angeles.

Rodriguez finished the season with 29 goals in 20 games.

"Tony is a gifted, hard-working soccer player who had a truly outstanding year," Harbor Coach Alan King said. "He was likely the top scoring community college player in the country."

The honor culminated a brilliant comeback for Rodriguez, whose career appeared in jeopardy three years ago when he suffered a broken leg. Rodriguez said the only way the season could have turned out better for him would have been if the Seahawks had managed to advance to the state community college playoffs.

"Of course, I am very happy and amazed at such an honor," he said. "I'm just sorry the team couldn't have done better."

SHOULD BE A CLASSIC

Two players who led the Serra High boys basketball team into the state regional playoffs, guard Milton Palacio and forward Leonard Butler, are among top seniors who have been invited to compete in the South Bay Athletic Club's fifth annual South Bay All-Star Boys and Girls Basketball Classic.

The games will be played March 24 at South Torrance High.

Palacio averaged 19 points and Butler 15 for Serra, which finished second to Verbum Dei in the Southern Section Division IV-A and advanced to the state Division IV regional semifinals before losing to San Diego Lincoln Prep.

Other standouts listed on the boys' roster are guards Ben Sanders of Westchester and Kenzie Weir of Centennial. In addition to Serra, three schools have two players on the roster: Inglewood, Morningside and South.

Inglewood, which was ranked No. 2 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports before losing to Dominguez in the Southern Section Division II-A semifinals, placed forward Antwoine Young and swingman Kevin Elliot on the team; Morningside landed guard Anthony McNair and forward Chris Croom, and South had guard Derek Brown and forward Ari Caldevilla.

The girls' roster is led by three players from Peninsula, which finished second in Southern Section Division I-AA and advanced to the state Division I regionals. The players are guard Allison Fortner, center Kathryn Foster-Kedie and guard Tracy Rosen.

Banning also placed three players on the team: guards Julie Thigpen and Jenille Ramos and forward Sharolunda Kennon. Schools with two players on the team are Morningside, Redondo, Inglewood, Torrance and South.

CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK

The next three games could be crucial to the South Coast Conference championship aspirations of the Harbor College baseball team.

The Seahawks (12-7, 3-1), ranked No. 10 in the state and No. 6 in Southern California, started the week in a four-way tie for first in the conference with Cerritos, Mt. San Antonio and Long Beach City and play each of those teams in the next six days.

Harbor visits Long Beach today and Cerritos on Tuesday and plays host to Mt. San Antonio in a make-up game Wednesday. All of the games are at 2 p.m. Mt. SAC, ranked No. 6 in the state and No. 4 in Southern California, is the only South Coast team ranked higher than the Seahawks.

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