SOCCER: Griffins CIF championship game set for 6:30 Saturday

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SOCCER:  Griffins CIF championship game set for 6:30 Saturday

The CIF Division I chmpionship soccer game between undefeated No. 1 seed JSerra and undefeated No. 2 seed Los Alamitos will be played at Warren High School in Downey at 6:30pm Saturday night.

The Lions (18-0-3), and winners of the last two CIF titles, are ranked No. 1 in the Southern Section, the state and the country, while Los Alamitos (25-0-5), is the nation’s No. 3 or No. 1 side, depending on your source.

The game will be a showdown of contrasting styles that could play out as a classic. But the players will be no mysteries to one another as many of the players play for other SoCal Blues teams which frequently practice against each other and a couple Griffin players are also coached by JSerra coach Greg Baker.

JSerra plays a direct style which showcases the talents of senior forward Isabella D’Aquila, a U.S. under-17 national team forward who keyed the Lions’ title runs the past two years. Against Villa Park in the semi-final, the Santa Clara-bound D’Aquilla scored her 30th, 31st and 32nd goals of the season. She has 133 in four seasons, just three shy of the Southern Section’s all-time top 10.

The Lions use a physical attack that wins first and second balls and then bangs it forward, looking to send D’Aquila behind opposing backlines for easy finishes. 

Los Alamitos showcases sophomore forward Tabitha LaParl, who scored her 29th and 30th goals of the season in the Griffins’ 3-0 semi-final win over Harvard-Westlake. LaParl’s last goal gave her 53 in her career, breaking the all-time Los Al career goal mark owned by Liz Willemse Yoast since 1991. (see photo left)

Tabi LaParl, the Griffins new all-time career goal scorer, poses with the previous record holder, Liz Willemse Yoast, who came to the Harvard-Westlake game to cheer on LaParl and her Griffin teammates, then posted about passing on the baton on her facebook site..

LaParl’s teammate, sophomore goalkeeper Reezyn Turk, comes into the match after an outstanding performance against Harvard-Westlake. She and her Griffin backline anchored by centerbacks Paige Thompson and Jayden Newkirk, have posted four straight shutouts in the playoffs and have recorded 23 on the season, destroying the Griffins previous all time record of 19.

On offense, the Griffins also feature the playmaking of super-quick sophomore Colby Barnett who has scored 16 goals and racked up 18 assists. Further evidence of the Griffins unselfish nature is LaParl’s 16 assists, and midefield Analisa Gjonovich’s 15, many f those being corner kicks or free kicks resulting in header goals by Newkirk (11 on the season) or Thompson.

JSerra is trying to be the first team to win three straight CIF titles. That would put them beyond the Los Al teams which won back-to-back titles in 1996 and 1997. The last Los Al team to win a CIF title was the 2005 squad which beat Mater Dei 2-0 in the championship match and ended up in the final polls as the No 1 team in the nation. That team was also coached by current Griffin coach Pat Rossi.

Author: losaltv

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