Undefeated Lions Ready for Trinity League Play

be6404108c3778d8b644b0aa63d4c34cBy Martin Henderson, Patch.com

Lions unleash a focused defensive effort, and the offense is steady in an impressive victory.

JSerra had never been ranked in the Orange County Top 10 andplayed another ranked opponent—until Friday.

And with all eyes on the seventh-ranked Lions and fifth-ranked Trabuco Hills, JSerra didn’t wilt under the spotlight.

The Lions remained unbeaten in impressive fashion, but more importantly, beat a team that was supposed to be more physical and could match their big-play offense.  Ultimately, JSerra didn’t have any big plays. But behind the effort of quarterback Nick Robinson, running back Casey Eugenio, and a defense that was dialed in, the Lions made plenty of little plays to emerge with the biggest nonleague victory in the program’s history.

Another important aspect: If Trabuco Hills—expected to finish second to Mission Viejo in the South Coast League—does make the playoffs, JSerra will have a feather in its cap should it be vying for a wild card berth. And if Trabuco is the team JSerra is competing against for a wild card berth, the Lions will have the head-to-head advantage.

Score: JSerra 37, Trabuco Hills 15

Key Stats: Casey Eugenio rushed 27 times for 122 yards and a touchdown, and Nick Robinson completed 14 of 20 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns for JSerra.

Pivotal Moment: JSerra had gotten inside the 10-yard line but was forced to kick a field goal for a 17-7 lead in the third quarter. On its next possession, again with first down inside the 10, a penalty moved the Lions back to the 20. Robinson connected with Dante Pettis for a 17-yard gain, and the next play D.J. Bailey scored to go up 23-7. It was a three possession lead and the Lions had clearly survived any momentum shift from Trabuco’s late score in the first half.

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Tending Goals After Tragedy in San Juan

AvilaBy Megan Cuniff, OC Register

For Cinthia and Diana Avila, it still seems like a bad dream.

And it happened so fast. One moment their mother sat in her bedroom, nursing a crippling headache. Minutes later, emergency crews whisked her out of her San Juan Capistrano apartment into an ambulance. She arrived at Mission Hospital in a coma, and she never woke up.

Nearly four months have passed, but for the sisters, time seemed to freeze on that day.

“It still feels like it was all a dream and it didn’t happen,” said Diana, 25, and now 14-year-old Cinthia’s legal guardian. “Like she’s just going to walk in the door one day.”

But the sisters aren’t alone. Cinthia’s former soccer coach, Clyde Blackwelder, has set up a trust fund and is working to organize a network of community members to support Cinthia as she tries to do what no one in her family has ever before done: earn a college degree.

They’re off to a great start.

Carlos Solorzano, whose daughter Raquel is Cinthia’s best friend, secured Cinthia a scholarship to JSerra Catholic High School, where he teaches Spanish. Cinthia began her career as a Lion in August. She loves studying science and is interested in a career in nursing. She plans to try out for soccer this month.

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Three JSerra Alums Achieve Eagle Rank

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Three of the five recent Eagle Scout rankings are graduates of JSerra’s class of 2013. Daniel Bondi, Xavier Puga and Andrew Wasilewski each completed the rank while as high school seniors.

“Scouting means to me a time of growth as a young man on the road to become the man I am today,” said Daniel Bondi.

“I’ve learned that with hard work comes great accomplishment and that the right mind set will get you far in life,” said Xavier Puga.

“The pain of discipline is short term, but the pain of regret lasts a lifetime; and that if you do something that scares you everyday your life can never be boring,” said Andrew Wasilewski.

Three have been together in Scouting since first grade, and all came together by fifth grade, when they bridged into Boy Scout Troop 724 – sponsored by the Rotary Club in San Juan Capistrano. Of the original 14 members of Troop 724, six reached the Eagle Scout rank.

After graduation, they celebrated their achievement together, along with families and friends, at a joint Eagle Court of Honor on July 21 at the San Juan Capistrano Community Center. Mayor John Taylor presented each of the boys a special commendation from the City Council. They are among the select few achieving the rank – in the Orange County Council, BSA in 2012, 743 young men attained the rank, among 28,000 youth served.

SCOUTING EXPERIENCE

In addition to earning five previous ranks and at least 21 merit badges, each Eagle envisioned, negotiated, planned, financed and led a service project to improve the community.

Bondi led the construction of two large, portable cabinets for Family Assistance Ministries in San Clemente, storing clothing for the homeless to use for job interviews. Puga led the assembly of “urban survival” backpacks for the homeless, packed with basic essentials. Wasilewski led the installation of a fence protecting another section of the vernal pool at The Reserve.

Alumnus Ali Celentano Named UAA and ECAC South Athlete of the Week

celentano_hs_srJSerra alumnus and Carnegie Mellon University junior Ali Celentano  was named University Athletic Association (UAA) Athlete of the Week as well as Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) South Volleyball Athlete of the Week.

Celentano garners the award after leading the Tartans to a 5-0 record last week to improve on the team’s best start since 2004, as the Tartans are now 8-1 overall.

Celentano recorded double-digit kills in four matches last week with an average hitting percent of .340 in the five victories. The junior now has recorded double digit kills in seven matches this season.

Celentano had season-high 18 kills against Geneva while hitting a season-high .438. She also hit above .400 against Capital. The junior right side hitter also recorded a career-high four service aces and a season-high five block assists against John Carroll.

Big Plays Provide Power for JSerra in Win Over Dolphins

IMG_9931By Steve Breazeale, Dana Point Times

The JSerra football team may not have had possession for very long against Dana Hills but when they did, they made it count.

In a nonleague game filled with fumbles and penalties, the Lions were able to produce enough big plays to come away with a 28-12 victory on September 27 at Saddleback College.

On JSerra’s (4-0) first play from scrimmage, senior quarterback Nick Robinson connected with senior receiver Dante Pettis for an 80-yard touchdown pass, igniting the large homecoming crowd in attendance. It took 14 seconds for the Lions to get on the board.

The Dolphins (1-4) would answer with a drive that ate up five minutes of the clock, but not without a little help. After being forced to punt, JSerra fumbled the return and the Dolphins recovered, giving them prime field position. Facing a fourth-and-one during the ensuing drive at the Lions five-yard line, Dana Hills quarterback Mac Vail dove ahead and got the yardage the team needed. Senior running back Justin Scott would finish it off with a four-yard touchdown run. A blocked point after kept the Lions up 7-6.

The Lions would fumble again four minutes later, but the Dolphins could not capitalize.

After both teams were hindered by multiple penalties to close out the half, bringing the game speed down to a crawl, JSerra junior senior back Casey Eugenio broke for a 52-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that saw him bob, weave and avoid his way to the end zone. The Lions lead never came into doubt from then on.

Junior defensive end Mitchell Deamon returned a Dolphins fumble 42 yards for a score and Robinson would toss a 25-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Zak to close out the scoring for JSerra.

The Lions will travel to play Trabuco Hills on October 4. Dana Hills will host Irvine the same day.

“We did enough to win the game as far as points are concerned. We hung in there defensively enough to keep them from winning the game but we have to improve between now and next week if we’re going to beat Trabuco Hills,” JSerra head coach Jim Hartigan said. “A week ago we had a decent amount of penalties too so we have to clean that up.”

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Baseball: All Eyes Will be on Sophomore Chase Strumpf

Strumpf after winning MVP in Colombia
Strumpf after winning MVP in Colombia

By Eric Sondheimer, LA Times

It has been a little over a month since sophomore Chase Strumpf of JSerra returned from Colombia with a gold medal after helping the USA 15U baseball team win the Pan American championships.

It was another achievement for a young player who keeps raising expectations. Before he even played in his first high school game last season, he accepted a scholarship to UCLA. Then he became a starter for the Lions. And things keep getting better.

Strumpf is ranked No. 3 in the nation among the class of ’16 prospects by Perfect Game. He’s appeared in Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd after hitting five home runs in eight games in Colombia to earn tournament MVP honors.

“It was amazing being able to wear USA on your chest,” he said of his USA 15U experience last weekend at halftime of the JSerra-Buena Park football game. “It was the best feeling in my life. I’ll never forget it.”

Strumpf has already made a big jump from freshman to sophomore year based on his summer. He’s stronger and has more power. He got to see Trinity League pitching as a freshman. It’s a little scary to think what he’ll look like by his senior year.

Capistrano Dispatch Cross Country Preview

JSerra-400x500Boys and Girls Cross Country
Marty Dugard has resided over one of the most dominant girls cross country teams in CIF history. The Lions have won the Trinity League, CIF-SS and CIF State Cross Country Division 4 Championship a record three consecutive years. It’s a stretch that has been unparalleled and Dugard believes that the Lions still have fight left in them.

When asked about his outlook on the 2013 season, Dugard responded with something that might seem like hyperbole. But when looking at the team’s track record in recent years, it’s a statement that looms large.

“I honestly think this is going to be our best season ever,” Dugard said. “I want to win two state trophies (boys and girls) and I think we could do it.”

A key piece to the girls team’s hopes at another string of titles will be junior Ashley Geisler, who recently suffered a stress reaction but is on the mend and rehabbing. Geisler finished 14th overall at the state meet in 2012 and played an integral role in the Lions tight, top of the rotation placement in races, which became their trademark.

Dugard pegged sophomore transfer Charlotte Owen as a runner who will help add depth to the roster and could possibly have a breakout year.

The boys cross country team may not have a runner who will finish on the podium week in and week out, but they have developed a tight pack running mentality over the offseason, which Dugard believes will give them an edge in the major meets. Dugard said his current top five runners are all finishing their races within 45 seconds of each other. Dugard stressed that on any given day, it can be senior Nic Fracassi leading the way or it could be junior Anthony Mariconda.

The Lions’ first real test on their way to their lofty goals will be at the Trinity League Prelims on October 2.