Led by a three-time CIF-Southern Section Player of the year, several former Catholic high school stars are expected to impact their respective teams in 2019 as the collegiate women’s soccer season gets underway later this month.
Isabella D'Aquila of J.Serra in San Juan Capistrano will take her talents north to Santa Clara University, where she will help the Broncos in their quest to unseat BYU for the West Coast Conference championship. Last season, BYU edged Santa Clara by one game for the title, while D'Aquila was leading undefeated J.Serra to the 2018 CIF-SS Division 1 crown and earning local, state and national player of the year honors.
At Santa Clara, D'Aquila’s teammates will include fellow J.Serra grad Julie Doyle, a member of the 2017 All-WCC and All-Freshman Teams who enters her junior season, as well as seniors Machaela George and Natalie Kennedy, both former Santa Margarita Eagles, one of J.Serra’s main rivals in the Trinity League.
Jaida Smith, another former Santa Margarita star who has played for national junior club championship teams, will begin her collegiate career at Pepperdine in Malibu. She joins fellow Trinity League alums Tara Morris and Hailey Stenberg, both from Mater Dei in Santa Ana, who will play their senior seasons for the Waves.
Indeed, the girls’ soccer programs from OC will be well-represented in the WCC this fall. Others include Santa Margarita grads Madison Louderback, a San Diego sophomore, and Tatum Brakke, an LMU freshman, as well as Rosary alum Olivia LaCasto, entering her junior season at LMU.
Two more newcomers to the WCC in 2019, both All-League performers in their high school days, are products of Catholic high schools in Los Angeles County: LMU redshirt freshman Jordan Robinson, from Notre Dame in Sherman Oaks, and St. Mary’s College freshman Nayeli Diaz, from Bishop Amat in La Puente.
Dozens more Catholic high school alumnae from throughout the U.S. can be found on the rosters of all 10 WCC women’s soccer teams in 2019, including defending champion BYU, seeking to repeat but facing a stern test from Santa Clara. The Cougars were 8-1 in league play in 2018 and 13-5-1 overall, just ahead of the Broncos (7-2, 17-3-2).
The remainder of last year’s standings showed Pepperdine in third (6-1-2, 11-6-2), followed by Gonzaga (5-2-2, 10-2-4), San Francisco (4-3-2, 11-7-2), San Diego (4-5, 8-9-1), Portland (4-5, 11-9), St. Mary’s (2-6-1, 7-10-2), LMU (1-7-1, 3-13-4) and Pacific (0-9, 2-16).
In 2018: BYU 17-1 (32-2); Pepperdine 14-4 (22-9); San Diego 13-5 (18-13); St. Mary’s 11-7 (19-10); LMU 10-8 (21-10); Pacific 8-10 (13-16); Gonzaga 8-10 (11-18); Portland 6-12 (20-13); San Francisco 2-16 (9-20); Santa Clara 1-16 (6-24).
Mike Nelson is the former editor of The Tidings (predecessor of Angelus News).
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