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Influx of Talent Benefits Elite

March 02, 2000|CHRIS SHAFFER

Judging by the incoming freshmen next fall, look for the region's top soccer teams to remain strong for several years.

The Valley United Stars, the top girls' club team in the region, will provide a new wave of talent for high school programs.

Touted newcomers include Jamie Artsis, who will attend Harvard-Westlake or Chaminade, Theresa Cirelle (Harvard-Westlake or Marymount), Kailyn Enriquez (Crescenta Valley), Alysha Hoven (Oaks Christian or Chaminade), Kristin Krohn (L.A. Baptist), Megan Merritt (Louisville), Kandice McLaughlin (El Camino Real), Emily Niven (Notre Dame or Harvard-Westlake), Jessie Steinberg (Granada Hills), Lindsey Flaks (Harvard-Westlake), Melissa Deckers (Harvard-Westlake) and Ashley Jones (Westlake).

"These girls are going to make the same impact that Kim Taylor (Chaminade), Jill Oakes (Harvard-Westlake) and Jenny Farenbaugh (Louisville) did as freshmen," said Terry Davila, coach of the Stars and Cal State Northridge. "All of them are potential impact players."

Among boys' players, Jorge Vega, who plays for the West Valley Samba, is expected to make the biggest impact as a freshman. He will attend North Hollywood.

"He is one of the top five players in the state in his age bracket," Samba Coach Travis Kikugawa said. "The Olympic Development [team] scouts all want him. He's one of the hardest workers I've ever seen."

Other top eighth-graders include Kyle Montgomery (El Camino Real), Noah Nudell (Agoura), Chris Estes (Chaminade), Blake Lezak (Crespi), Jesse Littlejohn (Loyola), Mike Ebert (Crespi), Josh Levy (Calabasas or Agoura), Eric Shields (Westlake), Diego Barrera (Thousand Oaks) and Dylan Riley (Thousand Oaks).


A trio of impressive playoff performances proved it was another strong year for Mission League boys' soccer.

Although the league didn't get four postseason qualifiers, its three representatives reached at least the Southern Section quarterfinals, faring better than any league in the region.

"People didn't realize how strong we were," Coach Glen Appels of St. Francis said. "Crespi, Notre Dame and Harvard-Westlake [didn't make the playoffs, but] all [three] could have won in the playoffs. They were better than 10 teams that made it."

St. Francis reached the Division IV semifinals before falling to Costa Mesa Estancia, 4-1. Loyola lost in the Division II quarterfinals to Placentia El Dorado.

Chaminade lost in the Division IV quarterfinals to top-seeded Bishop Montgomery. The Eagles might have won if not for youthful mistakes on the field and some misfortune off of it.

Ori Adrabi, Chaminade's top player, transferred to El Camino Real the week before the Bishop Montgomery game. Starting midfielder Matt Ward had to sit out the game after receiving a red card against Ganesha in the second round, and midfielder John Madden was red-carded in the first half against Bishop Montgomery.

Despite playing five freshmen, the Eagles took Bishop Montgomery to four overtimes before losing, 2-1.

The Mission League should be even stronger next year because of an abundance of young talent.

Crespi, which loses only one starter, should contend for the title after rebuilding this season.

Chaminade returns a strong nucleus from a team that set a school record for victories and qualified for the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade.

St. Francis, which tied a school record for victories this season, loses six starters. But the Golden Knights return goalkeeper Raul Calderon and three of four forwards, including Ryan Shaw, who scored 23 goals to break his school single-season record.

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