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Year in Review, part II: Oilers shined bright in 2014

While the 2013 part started a run of successes for local prep teams and athletes, the second half of the 2013-14 prep athletic year began quietly but ended with a bang.

The school year ended with more CIF championships won, both going to the athletic program at Huntington Beach High.

Below is the Part Two highlights from the 2014 portion of the school year.

January through June

Boys' Soccer: Edison got off to a red-hot start to the season and didn't lose in its first 18 games. The Chargers went on to capture the Sunset League championship and took a No. 2-seeding into the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs. The Chargers advanced to the quarterfinal round where they were upended on penalty kicks (4-2) by Palos Verdes. Their outstanding season ended at 23-2-1.

Senior Connor Gordon set a school single-season record this year with 27 goals. He went on to be named Most Valuable Player on the 2014 All-Sunset League boys' soccer team. His Edison teammate, defender Ty O'Connor, was named Most Outstanding Defensive Player.

The duo would also earn a spot on the 2014 All-CIF Southern Section Division 1 boys' soccer team.

"I'm really proud of what this team accomplished this season," Edison Coach Charlie Breneman said.

Huntington Beach, an at-large entry from the Sunset League to the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs, dropped a 3-0 wild-card game at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.

Girls' Soccer: As did its male counterpart, the Edison girls' team played its way to a Sunset League championship and the 10th-ranked Chargers weaved their way through the CIF-SS Division playoffs all the way to the Division 1 title game. Minus key player and top scorer, MacKenzie Cerda, the Chargers fell, 3-0, in the final to fifth-ranked Santa Margarita.

Despite the loss, Edison made the CIF Southern California Regional Girls' Soccer Championships (Division 1). The Chargers lost at Torrey Pines (CIF San Diego Section), 4-1.

Edison Coach Kerry "Mac" Crooks said the Southern California Regional appearance was a first for the Edison program.

Joining Edison in postseason play was Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley in Division 1, and Ocean View in Division 6. Huntington, runner-up to Edison in the Sunset League, fell, 2-1, in a second-round game to Santa Margarita. Fountain Valley, an at-large entry to the playoffs from the Sunset League, dropped a 2-1 first-round game at Corona del Mar. Ocean View, the No. 3 team from the Golden West League, fell, 3-1, in a first-round game at Rialto.

MacKenzie Cerda was named MVP of the Sunset League. The senior also was selected as MVP of the CIF-SS Division 1 Girls' Soccer Team, an All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Assn. of America, and was named the 2013-14 Gatorade California Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

She is the first player from Edison to be selected for the award.

"This is a huge honor for MacKenzie and I am beyond proud of her," Edison girls' soccer coach Kerry "Mac" Crooks said. "She had an amazing postseason and an unbelievable run. She really had an amazing career here, and it was so great to be able to witness all that she has done."

Girls' Water Polo: For the second consecutive year, the Ocean View girls' team found its way to the William Woollett Jr. Aquatic Center in Irvine, host site of the CIF-SS water polo championships. And, as in the previous year, the Seahawks finished runner-up to the Division 7 crown.

In a final that pitted Golden West League rivals against one another, top-seeded Segerstrom pulled away late to score a 7-4 win over second-seeded Ocean View

This year's return trip to Woollett Center surprised even Seahawks Coach Melissa Fernandez who also took a veteran team to the title game the previous winter.

"We had lost so many players from last year's team and we are so young this year that getting here, in itself, was great," Fernandez said. "I told the girls after the game to put into perspective the fact that they got us back here. It's a credit to them what they accomplished. Hopefully, they'll look back and realize what a successful season it's been."

Marina and Edison also secured spots in the CIF-SS playoffs, both in Division 1. Marina fell, 23-5, in a first-round game to eventual Division 1 champion Laguna Beach, and ninth-ranked Edison won a wild-card game (12-2) over El Dorado but lost, 10-4, in the second-round to Corona del Mar.

Girls' Basketball: Several teams had seasons that resulted in a trip to the CIF-SS playoffs and one of those teams, Huntington Beach, preceded that trip by winning a league championship.

Huntington won its second Sunset League title in three years, was one of the top-ranked teams in CIF-SS Division 1A, and reached the playoff semifinals. The third-seeded Oilers took a 17-game win streak into the Final Four and ended up with a 26-3 campaign following a 60-41 loss to second-seeded and eventual division champion Ventura.

"It's been a great season," Huntington Coach Russ McClurg said. "My kids played hard and in nine out of the last 10 years, we have won 20 games. I'm really happy with the season."

Marina and Edison of the Sunset League, and Ocean View from the Golden West League, also advanced to the postseason.

Marina, which tied for second in the Sunset, was the No. 15-seed in the Division 2AA playoffs but was eliminated following a 47-43 first-round loss to Kennedy. Edison, an at-large entry, dropped a 55-46 first-round Division 1AA game to No. 13-seeded San Clemente. Ocean View, the No. 2 team from the Golden West and No. 12-seed for the Division 3A tournament, reached the quarterfinal round where it was eliminated, 51-29, by fourth-seeded South Pasadena.

Huntington Beach seniors Paola Roa (First Team) and Stephanie Louie (Second Team) made the All-CIF-SS Division 1A Girls' Basketball Team. The two were also named co-MVPs of the Sunset League.

Treasure Robinson, a sophomore at Ocean View, was named to the CIF-SS Division 3A First Team.

Three Sunset League players, seniors Paola Roa and Stephanie Louie of Huntington Beach, and senior Danielle Kennedy of Marina, were selected to play in the Orange County North-South All-Star girls' basketball game. Huntington Coach Russ McClurg served as an assistant coach for the South.

Boys' Basketball: Three teams, Edison, Ocean View and Brethren Christian, qualified for the CIF-SS playoffs, each as a second-place team from their respective leagues.

Edison reached the quarterfinal round of the Division 1A playoffs were the sixth-seeded Chargers (23-6) were edged by third-seeded Temecula Valley, 68-63.

"We had an outstanding season," Edison Coach Rich Boyce said. "People told us at the start of the year that we'd be the third-best team in the league and win 17, maybe 18 games. But our kids were fighters. I told them that you earn what you get, and they worked hard to have a great season."

Ocean View won its first Division 3A playoff game, 59-44 over 13th-seeded Buena Park, but the Seahawks had their postseason halted by fourth-seeded Oak Park which scored a 70-33 second-round victory.

Brethren Christian took the No. 3-seed into the Division 5AA playoffs and by winning its first two games, each by double-digits, reached the divisions quarterfinals. There, the Warriors were edged, 67-64, by Pacifica Christian.

A pair of Edison juniors, Brae Ivey (First Team) and Jake Haar (Second Team) made the All-CIF-SS Division 1A Team. Ocean View senior Angel Nieves, who set the Ocean View boys' program record for made three-point shots (79) in a season, was named to the Division 3A Second Team. Brethren Christian sophomore Cameron Griffin (First Team) and junior Brandon Bryson (Second Team) made the Division 5AA Team.

After four years as head coach at his alma mater, Roger Holmes stepped down from his position at Fountain Valley. Holmes took three of his teams to the CIF-SS playoffs, won the program's first postseason game in 10 years (2011 playoffs), and his Barons won the Sunset League title in 2013, the program's first league crown since 1995.

Swimming: Edison won both the boys' and girls' Sunset League championships, and each went on to capture third-place in their respective team standings at the CIF-SS Division 1 Swimming and Diving Championships at UC Riverside in May.

Ocean View's boys' and girls' teams each took 12th-place at the CIF-SS Division 4 Championships at UC Riverside.

Boys' Golf: Marina went 10-0 in Sunset League competition and won the league title for the second-straight year.

At the Sunset League finals at Recreation Park in Long Beach in early-May, the following local golfers advanced to the CIF Southern Individual Regional Tournament: Nick Swanson, Ramiz Jamal, Patrick Pockels and Cameron Kaneko of Marina, and Conner Hurst of Huntington Beach.

Marina and Edison played at the CIF Southern Team Championship Tournament in May.

Boys' Tennis: Eighth-ranked Fountain Valley, the second-place team from the Sunset League, won its first two matches in the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs to reach the quarterfinal round where the Barons were defeated, 13-5, by No. 2-seeded Palos Verdes

Marina, an at-large entry to the Division 1 playoffs from the Sunset League, won a May 13 wild-card game against West Torrance to reach a first-round match against University. The Vikings dropped a 15-3 decision to the division's top-seeded team which went on to win the division title.

Football: Eric Lo, who guided Huntington Beach High to the 2013 CIF Southern Section Southwest Division football championship last fall, was named head coach for the South for the Brea Lions Club Orange County North/South Prep All-Star Charity Football Game.

The South roster includes the following local players: Kai Ross, Maurice Barber and Tucker deCamp and Evander Warren of Huntington Beach; Markus Boyer, David Siliuta and Hunter Kelley of Edison; Jacob Church and Isaiah Davis of Fountain Valley, and Will Martin of Brethren Christian.

The 55th annual game is at 7:15 p.m. July 10 at Orange Coast College's LeBard Stadium.

Softball: For the first time in 18 years, Huntington Beach returned to the top of the Sunset League standings. The Oilers ended up sharing the league title with defending champion Marina and the two teams, along with Ocean View from the Golden West League, made their way into postseason play.

Sixth-ranked Huntington fell, 9-5, in a Division 1 first-round game to visiting Cypress. The Oilers ended the year 20-6, sporting the best record in program history, Coach Jeff Forsberg said.

"We had a great year," Forsberg said. "I'm so proud of this group and what they accomplished. This was one of the best teams on and off the field that I have coached and we really played with a purpose and systematic understanding all year long."

Marina won its Division 1 opener, 5-2, over Yorba Linda. The Vikings, the division's fifth-ranked team, saw their season come to an end in the next round after a 3-2 loss to 10th-ranked Canyon/Anaheim.

The game was the final game of a 23-year head coaching career at Marina for Shelly Luth who retired at the end of the season.

She coached 30 years, seven as an assistant, at Marina.

"As for me, I have another great year, coaching great kids and I feel very, very lucky," Luth said after the her final game.

Seventh-ranked Ocean View, which tied for second-place in the Golden West League, won its Division 4 opener, 4-1, against Valley Christian but was eliminated in the second-round, 1-0, by Santa Monica which went on to win the Division 4 championship.

Ocean View, which tied for second place in the Golden West League, completed a 20-7 season.

Marina senior pitcher Tera Blanco was named Most Valuable Player, Huntington senior Micaela Vierra, Pitcher of the Year, and Marina freshman Ryan King co-Rookie of the Year, on the 2014 All-Sunset League Softball Team.

Blanco and Vierra both were named this week to the 2014 All-CIF-SS Division 1 Softball Team. Ocean View senior Tobi Salzman was named to the All-CIF-SS Division 4 Team.

Baseball: Local teams made their presence known throughout the course of the 2014 season which began with Huntington Beach ranked No. 1 in CIF-SS Division 1.

The Oilers, along with Fountain Valley and Edison, resided in the division's top 10 all season. Although none of the three teams would go on to win the Division 1 title, Huntington and defending champ Fountain Valley tied for the Sunset League title and qualified for the CIF playoffs, and Edison made its way into the Division 1 playoff quarterfinals.

Huntington and Fountain Valley both played into the second round of the Division 1 playoffs. The fifth-seeded Oilers (22-5) routed Corona Santiago (10-1) but fell (1-0) to a Foothill team that would go on to finish runner-up to the Division 1 title.

"I feel like being co-champs in one of the toughest leagues (Sunset) around is an awesome accomplishment," Huntington Coach Benji Medure said. "We are sending 12 of our 16 seniors on to play college baseball, and the other four are going to four-year schools. This group of kids has a lot to be proud of."

The No. 3-seeded Barons (21-9) easily took care of Lakewood (9-1) before they were edged, 8-7, by Santa Margarita which went on to defeat Foothill at Dodger Stadium June 6 to win the division championship.

"I am extremely proud of what our players have accomplished over the last two years," Fountain Valley Coach Deric Yanagisawa said. "This senior group is extra special because it was loaded with guys who were dedicated to turning this program around and had a huge part of returning this program to the top."

Edison was the No. 3 team from the Sunset League. The Chargers (22-10) took care of Moore League champ Long Beach Millikan (4-2), then defending Division 1 champion Harvard-Westlake (3-1), to secure a spot in the quarterfinals. There, they dropped a close, 2-0 game to top-seeded JSerra.

"I'm just proud to be a part of this group of players, and this coaching staff which is outstanding," said first-year Edison Coach Cameron Chinn. "We have a very supportive administration, and all of this has made this a pretty special year."

Ocean View tied for second-place in the Golden West League and earned a spot in the Division 3 playoffs. The Seahawks (17-10) were bumped out of the postseason following a 5-4 wild-card game loss to Garden Grove Santiago.

Edison senior shortstop Brian Schales was named MVP, Fountain Valley senior pitcher Scott Schultz Pitcher of the Year, and Huntington Beach junior Daniel Amaral Rookie of the Year, on the 2014 All-Sunset League Baseball Team.

Schales (Miami Marlins) and Fountain Valley senior first baseman Brock Lundquist (Oakland Athletics), were selected in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft. Both previously committed to Long Beach State.

Track and Field: Three prep athletes, sophomore Cassie Durgy and junior George Gleason of Huntington Beach and senior Eamon Smythe of Edison, reached the CIF State Track and Field Championships finals at Clovis Buchanan High. The trio, along with junior AJ Beynon (boys' 300-meter hurdles, boys' high jump) of Edison, had previously competed at the State preliminaries competition.

Durgy earned a ninth-place state finish in the girls' 800, Gleason finished ninth in the boys' 1,600-meter run, and Smythe placed 11th in the boys' 800-meter run.

Boys' Volleyball: One year after winning a pair of major championships, Huntington Beach was considered a huge favorite to repeat the feats, and the Oilers accomplished just that.

In a season that would end with a school-record 40-0 record, and school-best win streak of 64, the top-ranked Oilers again laid claim to both the CIF-SS and CIF Southern California Regionals Division 1 titles. Just as they had done the previous season, the Oilers won both crowns by defeating Los Angeles Loyola in both finals.

Huntington won its fourth CIF-SS Division 1 title by beating the Cubs, 25-17, 20-25, 25-17, 25-10, May 24 at Cerritos College. The Oilers the following week won the program's second CIF Southern California Regional Division I championship in their second trip to the final, by taking a 25-16, 25-20, 25-20 victory in a sweep that took just one hour to complete.

The final win iced an incredible, 40-win season that began with the Oilers ending the season where they started it: at No. 1.

"I'm glad we're done," Huntington Coach Craig Pazanti said of the season-ending title. "We wanted to finish things off right. Our main goal all season was to go undefeated," he said.

Edison, the No. 3 team from the Sunset League, was eliminated from the Division 1 playoffs following a four-set loss at Dana Hills.

Huntington junior outside hitter TJ DeFalco this week was named Most Valuable Player, and Craig Pazanti Coach of the Year, for the 2014 All-CIF-SS Division 1 Boys Volleyball Team. That team also included Oiler players Drake Evans, Brenden Sander and Josh Tuaniga.

"It was a magical year," Pazanti said. "This group played with a target on their back from day one, and showed up every night with a great effort. It was the perfect ending to a perfect season.

"To go 40-0 and win everything we could possibly win, is a first for me. I knew this team had the potential to be great, but to watch all the different personalities come together by season's end and really become a true team, was awesome."

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