Shiningrnbrightly despite soggy weather (and soggier landscapes), San Gabriel Missionrnand Loyola High Schools emerged triumphant March 10 in their quests for CIFrnSouthern California Regional soccer titles.
ThernPioneers of San Gabriel edged Fillmore 2-1 to win the girls’ Division 5rnchampionship. Juliana Lopez scored her 45th and 46th goals of the year, one inrneach half, to give San Gabriel Mission a commanding lead.
Forrnthe Pioneers, guided by Coach Francisco Lopez (Juliana’s uncle), the victoryrncapped a remarkable season in which they won 31, lost but one and tied two onrntheir way to the CIF-SS Division 6 title, their second straight CIFrnchampionship. They won D-7 in 2017 and reached the semifinals of the D-5 SoCalrnRegionals.
Loyola,rnmeanwhile, won the boys’ Division 1 championship with a sudden death, 2-1rnovertime victory over host San Clemente on rnMarch 10. Aidan Cuevas converted Diego Avila’s long pass into therngame-winner halfway through the overtime period to break the tie, after Avilarnhad scored early in the game, only for the Tritons to tie it late in the firstrnhalf.
ForrnCoach Chris Walter’s Cubs (25-3-6), the win made for a happy season ending,rnespecially after Loyola had lost in the CIF-SS D-1 semifinals. The March 10 winrncame almost four years to the day — March 8, 2014 — when Loyola beat SanrnClemente 3-1 for the CIF-SS Division 1 title.
Inrnthe girls’ Division 1 championship match, J.Serra (25-2-2) lost a 1-0 decisionrnto Baseline League champion Upland (22-3-1) on March 10, making an earlyrnsecond-half goal stand up. In late December, J.Serra — which won the 2017 D-1rnSoCal Regional title — had defeated Upland on penalty kicks after the teamsrnplayed to a scoreless tie in regulation.