Further cementing Santa Monica’s status as a soccer city powerhouse, no fewer than three local high school squads captured their respective regular season league championships and will advance with high seeds into the CIF playoffs.
At the Samohi campus, both the Viking boys and girls varsity squads won their Ocean League divisions. The Lady Vikings, coached by Jimmy Chapman, finished Ocean League play undefeated 9-0-1. Chapman last coached at Samohi two years ago and he helped lead the 2007 boys varsity to an incredible undefeated season and Number Two national ranking. This year’s Viking boys, coached by Serafin Rodriguez, once again enter post season play as Ocean League champs with a strong 8-1-1 league record.
Meanwhile, the girls varsity at St. Monica Catholic High School provides perhaps the most inspirational run of the regular season. Mired in mediocrity during early season play against non-league competitors, the Lady Mariners morphed into a dominant soccer force by the second half and for the first time in memory, finished Camino Real League play undefeated, 7-0-1. Their regular season concluded last Thursday with a home game against Cantwell-Sacred Heart at Airport Field. The Mariners dispatched their opponent 5-0, and when the final whistle blew there was no confusion identifying the team hero as the Mariner players swarmed their senior goal keeper Jessica Centeno at the east end of the pitch. In an astounding all-league seven shut-out performance, Centeno allowed but one goal in eight league games, a streak during which the Mariners outscored their opponents by an incredible 35 goals to one.
Notable is the team’s youth. Only three seniors are on the varsity roster, including aforementioned keeper Jessica Centeno, and midfielders Sandy Olguin and Sarah Salarkia. Six juniors are on the squad; Desiree Letendre (MF), Kim Shadrake (FW), Jessie Garcia (FB), Ana Arias (MF), Ana Brewer (FB), and Marisa Padilla (MF). Four sophomores including: Andrea Centeno (MF), Taylor Dorris (FW), Sarah Grimm (FB), and Adrianna Garcia (MF); and, four freshman including Daisy Gonzalez (MF), Christina Locke (FB), Julia Gomez (MF), and Jessica Pippin (FW) complete the Mariners team. The head coach is Maura Diorio and she is assisted in coaching duties by Pedro Najera and Briget Dixon. The team’s trainer is Amber Brown. Rick Bruce is St. Monica’s Athletic Director and Jack White is the school’s Assistant Athletic Director.
St. Monica’s Lady Mariners hope to carry their momentum into the CIF playoffs this week, and with 14 of 17 varsity players potentially eligible to play next year, the team’s long term future is bright.
Mirror Contributing Writersports@smmirror.com