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Comeback Kids Brewer, Flores Boost La Mirada

January 17, 2002

The La Mirada High girls' soccer team has rolled past two opponents in the past week, defeating Glenn, 12-0, and Norwalk, 8-0, in Suburban League games.

But that doesn't mean the Matadores (13-1-3, 4-0-1 in league) haven't experienced great comebacks. Senior goalkeeper Mayra Flores and junior center midfielder Jennifer Brewer are each in the midst of one.

Flores sat out most of last season after a benign cyst that caused her difficulty breathing was discovered near her heart. She underwent surgery to remove it in December 2000.

"A lot of people thought it was open-heart surgery," said Flores, a team captain along with Brewer and senior Jennifer Aguilar. "It wasn't. It was just near the heart. But everything went fine, thank god."

Flores has seven shutouts, and, on Monday, with La Mirada comfortably ahead of Glenn, she played part of the game at left halfback, scoring twice for her first goals of the season.

Flores now considers her comeback complete.

"I was disappointed I couldn't play last year, but I didn't have any choice," she said.

"I had to take care of [the cyst]. It was just something that was bothering me."

It isn't anymore, and neither is Brewer's bad knee.

She has returned to score a team-high 13 goals after missing last season because of deterioration of the meniscus in her right knee.

"I wanted to cry sometimes, it hurt so bad," Brewer said.

There was no tear in Brewer's knee joints, but wear and tear from playing soccer year-round brought Brewer to the point where she needed a break from the sport.

"There's no cure except to rest it," she said. "I could walk, but I couldn't run or anything. I didn't play soccer for five months."

Brewer, a member of the Olympic Development Program in the 17-and-under division, stayed involved with her La Mirada teammates while sidelined, attending practices and serving as statistician last season. But she's glad to be back in action.

"It's hard sitting out," Brewer said.

Flores readily agrees.

"I was anxious to get back," she said. "I really missed playing the game, the smell of the grass, touching the ball, everything."

Re-grouping: South Pasadena has scored goals, and stopped them, by committee this season.

The Tigers (12-3-1, 2-0), coming off a 3-1 victory over Monrovia in a Rio Hondo League opener Monday, are sparked offensively by four players.

Forwards Kristen Anderson and Ruth Apraku have 12 and 11 goals, respectively, and Nicole Wallace and Rachel Battin have nine apiece.

This group effort has replaced the one-girl show the defending league-champion Tigers had last year, when they relied on Leah Gallegos. Gallegos scored 118 goals in three seasons for South Pasadena but transferred to Franklin High for her senior year.

"She's the best high school player I've seen," South Pasadena Coach Tom Ashby said. "All the kids relied on her."

Not anymore.

The Tigers also work together well on defense. Senior Briana Jones and freshman Kelsey Donovan have split time at goalkeeper, with Jones spending some time at fullback.

Lauren Peterson

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