Cal A Vie

15 Feb 19
SCNG
In his long and storied career, Oaks Christian softball coach Pete Ackermann does not give into hyperbole. So, when the O.G. of area softball coaches makes a sweeping statement, it certainly commands attention. Of course, Oaks Christian shortstop Maya Brady is the kind of player who can elicit that kind of response. “She’s the best shortstop I’ve had in my 40 years of coaching,” the savvy Ackermann said. Nevermind that she is the niece of six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady. #gallery-1624211-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1624211-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 33%; } #gallery-1624211-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1624211-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */ Oaks Christian softball players Taylor Johnson, Maya Brady, Lexi Berg and Brooke Snyder, from left, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball players Taylor Johnson, Maya Brady, Lexi Berg and Brooke Snyder, from left, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball player Maya Brady, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball player Maya Brady, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball player Maya Brady, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball player Maya Brady, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball player Maya Brady, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball players Brooke Snyder, Lexi Berg, Taylor Johnson and Maya Brady, from left, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball players Brooke Snyder, Lexi Berg, Taylor Johnson and Maya Brady, from left, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball player Taylor Johnson, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball player Lexi Berg, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball player Maya Brady, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball player Brooke Snyder, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) The UCLA-bound Brady is a slick fielder with a cannon of an arm. Her swing is pure, her speed is lightning-quick, her athleticism astounding and her softball IQ is off the charts. Brady is a generational type of player capable of carrying an entire program, and Ackermann said he has not been as excited about a high school player since seeing Crystl Bustos play at Canyon High. “Not a lot of kids are students of the game, but Maya is one,” Ackermann said. “It’s not just one thing about her — it’s everything. She has so much all-around talent.” Entering her senior season, Brady will try to help Oaks Christian defend its Marmonte League title and advance in the cutthroat CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs. Brady is part of a loaded squad. In a year when pitching seems to be a scarcity in the area, Oaks Christian boasts an embarrassment of riches with four capable pitchers: Lexy Berg, Taylor Johnson, Madison Mok and freshman Micaela Kastor. Senior outfielder Brooke Snyder signed with Michigan State. Johnson, also a first baseman, is headed to the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Junior infielder Felicia Quezada also is a key returner as Oaks Christian takes aim at its third Marmonte League title in four years. But it won’t be easy. Defending CIF Division 2 champion Newbury Park returns ace Cory Carrillo, who was lights out in Newbury Park’s four playoff games and is headed to Bellevue University in Nebraska. Newbury Park also returns Bucknell-bound Chase Knapp, sophomore shortstop Sophia Morales and second baseman Sidney Barth to try to compensate for the graduations of Serena Huchingson (Boise State), SeaEnna Satcher (Charleston Southern) and Paige Barth (San Diego State). Young Westlake has a pair of aces in Kylie Chung and UC Santa Barbara-bound Lexy Campbell and a young stud in freshman shortstop Emily Jones. Thousand Oaks answers with two aces of its own in Shannon Haddad and Zoe Ballen. Calabasas must replace pitcher Jessica Ross (Ohio State), but has a solid core in seniors Julia Gubner and Morgan Jennings. Foothill League Enter the intrigue. Sophomore shortstop Emma Branson is a returning all-league player for three-time defending league champion Valencia, which was hit hard by the graduations of Shea O’Leary (Texas), Ally Shipman (Tennessee), Noelle Dominguez (Charleston), Kayla Paragas (Utah State), Amarys (Fairleigh Dickinson) and Alexis Genovese (Copland). Still, to beat the champion, you have to knock them out. Emma Montoya and Bri Stone will handle pitching duties for Valencia. Third baseman Alexis DeYoung transferred from Canyon High. Juniors Katie Sare and Kaylee West will share catching duties. Cheyenne Markser and Delaney Scully will also be expected to be impact players, and Macayla and Lani Paragas provide speed and experience. Saugus looks like the prime contender to knock Valencia off its throne with a potent lineup paced by Tennessee commitments McKenna Gibson and Gracie Keene. Junior Libbie McMahon is a returning All-CIF player who is committed to UC Davis. Leslie Reynaga and Malia Risdall will complement each other in the circle with Long Island University-bound Maya Avila serving as a capable catcher. Hart has a pair of studs in Notre Dame-bound shortstop Brooke Marquez and UC Davis-bound Aly Kaneshiro. Pitching will be key for Hart with freshman Allison Howell, Brooke Dragolski and Amanda Souza all expecting to contribute in the circle. Sisters Kathryn Smudde and Kameron Smudde and Rachel Chobanian will also be impact players. Golden Valley was the darling of the league last season and has a star in Cal-bound Sophie Medellin, but the loss of Cassidy Cangemi (Boise State) will be tough to overcome. Nicole Smart is also a player to watch for Golden Valley. West Ranch boasts Princeton-bound Adrienne Chang, pitcher Jenna Rorick and Long Beach State-bound Sara Olson. West Valley League Chatsworth is the West Valley League and City favorite, especially with Wisconsin-bound left-hander Ava Justman in its arsenal. Senior catcher Emily Justman gives Chatsworth a sibling battery and quite a 1-2 punch. Senior Tea Carbajal, junior Isabella Pagnini, senior Amanda Clack and junior Jasmine Wehn are also returners with championship experience. El Camino Real will challenge Chatsworth once again, boasting the prodigious Jordyn VanHook, an Arizona State commit. Outfielder Caitlyn Wall and sophomore pitcher Jillian Kelly will help keep ECR in the City’s upper echelon. Cassie Swenson will be the leader for Cleveland in the West Valley, and Gwen Pederson will pace Granada Hills. Valley Mission League Expect San Fernando and Kennedy to duke it out for the Valley Mission League crown. San Fernando has a strong senior core in Lily Garcia (Seattle University), Mel Paz (Morgan State) and Savannah Alarcon (University of San Diego). Lexy Angulo, Paz and sophomore Justine Bergera will share time in the circle. Hawaii-bound catcher Tiare LaPorte will pace Kennedy, which gets a boost from Alemany transfer Leah Brito, a UC Riverside-bound shortstop. Returner Aliyah Rincon and freshman Savannah Arreguin will share pitching duties. Angelica Franco and Sabrina Morales are also key returners. The Daily News’ 2019 softball preview asks 19 burning questions heading into the season. WHICH AREA TEAM STANDS ABOVE THE REST? That would be Oaks Christian. The Lions have shortstop Maya Brady, several key returners from last year’s Marmonte League championship team and a slew of pitching. But the reality of playing in the loaded CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs means that the area’s best team will be a longshot for a potential CIF crown. WHO IS THE BEST POSITION PLAYER IN THE AREA? It starts with Oaks Christian’s Maya Brady. El Camino Real’s Arizona State-bound Jordyn VanHook, Hart’s Notre Dame-bound Brooke Marquez, Golden Valley’s Cal-bound Sophie Medellin and Saugus’ McKenna Gibson are also on the early Watch List. WHO IS THE ACE OF THE AREA? Chatsworth’s Ava Justman. The Wisconsin-bound left-hander powered Chatsworth to its second City title in four years, and she has the luxury of working with her sister Emily Justman. Other potential aces include: Chaminade’s Tessa Magnamino, Newbury Park’s Cory Carrillo, Crescenta Valley’s DeeDee Hernandez, Oaks Christian’s Lexi Berg, Westlake’s Lexy Campbell, Grace Brethren’s Jessie Fontes and Louisville’s Grace Luderer all have ace material. HOW DO THE AREA’S DEFENDING CIF CHAMPIONS LOOK? In the words of Joe Davis, “To beat the champ, you’ve got to knock them out.” Newbury Park, Chaminade and Highland are defending CIF champions, but the road to back-to-back titles became more difficult as all three teams moved up divisions. Newbury Park went from Division 2 into the Death Division that is Division 1. Chaminade moves from Division 3 to Division 2, and Highland moves from Division 6 to Division 3. WHO IS THE DARKHORSE OF THE AREA? Got to go with Westlake. If Westlake can make the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs – and a top-three finish in the Marmonte League is not a given – it will emerge as a viable Division 4 title contender. Pitchers Kylie Chung and UC Santa Barbara-bound Lexy Campbell are a potent 1-2 punch in the circle. Freshman shortstop Emily Jones is the jewel of a prized freshman class that includes Kennedy Bunker (catcher) and Mariah Elohim (third base). Catcher Daryn Siegel is a transfer from Windward who will also be impactful. WHO IS PASSIONATELY SMASHING EVERY EXPECTATION? El Camino Real’s Jordyn “Valley Circle” VanHook. In her first at-bat of the season — against Chaminade ace Magnamino – VanHook blasted a homer onto the middle of Valley Circle Blvd. It was the second home run to reach Valley Circle, and the Arizona State-bound VanHook has done it both times. Her homers are prodigious, but many teams might elect not to pitch to her this season. El Camino Real will probably bat VanHook in the leadoff spot, forcing more teams to pitch to her. HOW IS THE MISSION LEAGUE SHAPING UP? Defending Mission League and CIF champion Chaminade looks like the favorite, especially with Wisconsin-bound Tessa Magnamino in the circle. Magnamino was the Mission League’s pitcher of the year with a 21-3 record, 239 strikeouts and eight walks with a 0.75 ERA. Gabby Hensley and freshman Payton Wagner will also be impact players for Chaminade. Samantha Fontaine, Toni Lopez and Lilly Travieso form a solid core for Alemany. Notre Dame should be a threat with sophomore pitcher Dahlia Frank, sophomore Alyssa Aguilar and junior third baseman Jules Vargas. Emily Nutting is Harvard-Westlake’s top returning bat. WHAT TRANSFER REVERBERATED THROUGHOUT THE AREA? The schools might only be a mile apart, but Amber Toven’s transfer from Chatsworth to Sierra Canyon made waves throughout the area. While defending City champion Chatsworth loses its most consistent returning bat in an offense that will need to scrape together runs for ace Ava Justman, it was a boon for Sierra Canyon. Toven is a quality shortstop with a discerning eye at the plate and an innate ability to square up the ball. Sierra Canyon also welcomed in La Reina transfer Tara Tweedy, who will be in the circle. Catcher Sara Schneider is a four-year standout. Janae Weise provides plenty of power, and freshman Sidney Schneider will also be an impact bat for Sierra Canyon, which is just two years removed from a CIF final and will be looking to rebound from last year’s second-round loss to eventual champion Santa Fe. Other notable transfers include Leah Brito going from Alemany to Kennedy, Amanda DeYoung going from Canyon to Valencia and Daryn Siegel going from Windward to Westlake. WILL CRESCENTA VALLEY REPEAT IN THE PACIFIC LEAGUE? Most likely. Crescenta Valley will ride sophomore DeeDee Hernandez, the league’s reigning pitcher of the year who went 21-2 with 162 strikeouts in 131 innings while batting .556 with 45 RBIs. Senior Alyssa Hernandez, senior outfielder Kristy Taix and senior infielder Maddie DeLeon are also returning first-team all-league picks for Crescenta Valley. Burroughs will try to chase down Crescenta Valley, especially with Chloe Brookmeyer back after earning the league’s Player of the Year award. Seniors Sarah Garelick, Amara Broyls and Alex Davis provide a strong foundation for Burbank. Senior pitcher Aurora Funaro will lead Glendale. BEST FRESHMAN IN THE AREA? Westlake shortstop Emily Jones. She is a super-slapper with blazing speed and an incredible arm, making her well-equipped to handle Westlake’s middle infield for the next four years. WHICH TEAM HAS HAD THE ROUGHEST OFFSEASON? Definitely Chatsworth. Though every team had to deal with the thunderstorms washing out practices and scrimmages, Chatsworth had to contend with major construction at the  school that further limited the Chancellors, and the rain compounded the situation. Despite those conditions, Chatsworth delivered a 2-0 season-opening victory over Saugus with little practice time. HOW WILL AGOURA SHAKE UP THE COASTAL CANYON LEAGUE? Agoura moves from the Marmonte League to the Coastal Canyon and will be in the mix for a playoff spot. Camarillo should be the favorite if pitcher Eryka Gonzalez is healthy. Royal will be a league title contender and opened with a 5-0 win over Oaks Christian. Pitcher Hannah Sattler, Allison Ha and Lauren Lapinid figure to be the leaders for Royal, which beat rival Simi Valley all three times they met last season. Center fielder Jessica Cross and catcher Chaela Chowder will lead Simi Valley. If Agoura is going to break into the top three, it must replace three Division 1 players in pitcher Lexy Mills (Kansas), Tyler Goldstein (UC Santa Barbara) and Sam Demyon (UC Riverside). Four-year starter Caitlyn Danovich, headed to Division 1 Rider University, will provide the foundation. Sophomore Adriana Gonzalez and shortstop Alyssa Anderson will also try to boost Agoura. EIGHT PICKS FOR THE CITY’S OPEN DIVISION? Chatsworth and El Camino Real from the West Valley League. San Fernando and Kennedy from the Valley Mission League. Carson, San Pedro and Banning from the Marine League. And then the special pick: three-time defending City champion View Park Prep, which has won the Division 4, Division 3 and Division 2 titles in successive seasons. Now that View Park Prep is Division 1, it seems like an Open Division berth is within its reach. Defending Division 1 champion Cleveland, Granada Hills, Sun Valley Poly and Eagle Rock could also vie for that final Open Division berth with the rest becoming instant Division 1 contenders. Chavez could make some noise in Division 2. WHICH SOUTHERN SECTION TEAMS ARE ON THE INITIAL CIF WATCH LIST? Quite a few actually. Valencia and Newbury Park in Division 1, Chaminade in Division 2, Highland in Division 3, Westlake, Harvard-Westlake and La Reina in Division 4, Glendale and Grace Brethren in Division 5 and Flintridge Prep in Division 7. WHICH FORMER AREA PLAYER WILL HAVE THE BEST COLLEGIATE SEASON? Duh. Highland’s Rachel Garcia is the No. 1-ranked collegiate player in the country who powered UCLA to the College World Series last season. Do yourself a favor and make your way to Westwood to watch Garcia in action. WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT OF DEFENDING CIF CHAMPION HIGHLAND? Highland will be the Golden League favorites. Sophomore pitcher Annika Gugler takes over in the circle for last year’s CIF player of the year, Catalina Aguilar, who is now at Palomar College. Senior Rozelyn Carrillo is a senior captain committed to South Dakota who played for the Mexico Junior National Team. Senior second baseman Alexa Alvarez transferred from Palmdale. Lancaster ace Alyssa McIntosh is one of the league’s top players. Quartz Hill and Knight will also be in the mix. WHO HAS THE BEST SOFTBALL FIELD? El Camino Real. Coach Jodi Borenstein has the ECR diamond looking as pristine as Dodger Stadium. WHO HAS HAD THE FREAKIEST INJURY? Notre Dame’s Jules Vargas attended a softball camp in Boston. In the final 10 minutes of the camp, Vargas was drilled by a wicked riseball during a scrimmage and sustained a broken wrist. Vargas will likely miss the next three weeks but should still return in time to help Notre Dame push for a Mission League crown. AND MAYBE THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION: WHO BOASTS THE BEST SNACK BAR? Kennedy. Hands down. And don’t miss the April 26 game against rival San Fernando. Not only will the Valley Mission League title be on the line, but Kennedy busts out the tacos for the only time of the year for a can’t-miss culinary experience. Mark your calendars.
15 Feb 19
Daily News
In his long and storied career, Oaks Christian softball coach Pete Ackermann does not give into hyperbole. So, when the O.G. of area softball coaches makes a sweeping statement, it certainly commands attention. Of course, Oaks Christian shortstop Maya Brady is the kind of player who can elicit that kind of response. “She’s the best shortstop I’ve had in my 40 years of coaching,” the savvy Ackermann said.Nevermind that she is the niece of six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady. #gallery-3036519-2 { margin: auto; } #gallery-3036519-2 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 33%; } #gallery-3036519-2 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-3036519-2 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */ Oaks Christian softball players Taylor Johnson, Maya Brady, Lexi Berg and Brooke Snyder, from left, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball players Taylor Johnson, Maya Brady, Lexi Berg and Brooke Snyder, from left, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball player Maya Brady, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball player Maya Brady, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball player Maya Brady, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball player Maya Brady, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball player Maya Brady, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball players Brooke Snyder, Lexi Berg, Taylor Johnson and Maya Brady, from left, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball players Brooke Snyder, Lexi Berg, Taylor Johnson and Maya Brady, from left, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball player Taylor Johnson, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball player Lexi Berg, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball player Maya Brady, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) Oaks Christian softball player Brooke Snyder, Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker) The UCLA-bound Brady is a slick fielder with a cannon of an arm. Her swing is pure, her speed is lightning-quick, her athleticism astounding and her softball IQ is off the charts. Brady is a generational type of player capable of carrying an entire program, and Ackermann said he has not been as excited about a high school player since seeing Crystl Bustos play at Canyon High. “Not a lot of kids are students of the game, but Maya is one,” Ackermann said. “It’s not just one thing about her — it’s everything. She has so much all-around talent.” Entering her senior season, Brady will try to help Oaks Christian defend its Marmonte League title and advance in the cutthroat CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs.Brady is part of a loaded squad. In a year when pitching seems to be a scarcity in the area, Oaks Christian boasts an embarrassment of riches with four capable pitchers: Lexy Berg, Taylor Johnson, Madison Mok and freshman Micaela Kastor. Senior outfielder Brooke Snyder signed with Michigan State. Johnson, also a first baseman, is headed to the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Junior infielder Felicia Quezada also is a key returner as Oaks Christian takes aim at its third Marmonte League title in four years.But it won’t be easy. Defending CIF Division 2 champion Newbury Park returns ace Cory Carrillo, who was lights out in Newbury Park’s four playoff games and is headed to Bellevue University in Nebraska. Newbury Park also returns Bucknell-bound Chase Knapp, sophomore shortstop Sophia Morales and second baseman Sidney Barth to try to compensate for the graduations of Serena Huchingson (Boise State), SeaEnna Satcher (Charleston Southern) and Paige Barth (San Diego State). Young Westlake has a pair of aces in Kylie Chung and UC Santa Barbara-bound Lexy Campbell and a young stud in freshman shortstop Emily Jones. Thousand Oaks answers with two aces of its own in Shannon Haddad and Zoe Ballen. Calabasas must replace pitcher Jessica Ross (Ohio State), but has a solid core in seniors Julia Gubner and Morgan Jennings. Foothill League Enter the intrigue. Sophomore shortstop Emma Branson is a returning all-league player for three-time defending league champion Valencia, which was hit hard by the graduations of Shea O’Leary (Texas), Ally Shipman (Tennessee), Noelle Dominguez (Charleston), Kayla Paragas (Utah State), Amarys (Fairleigh Dickinson) and Alexis Genovese (Copland). Still, to beat the champion, you have to knock them out. Emma Montoya and Bri Stone will handle pitching duties for Valencia. Third baseman Alexis DeYoung transferred from Canyon High. Juniors Katie Sare and Kaylee West will share catching duties. Cheyenne Markser and Delaney Scully will also be expected to be impact players, and Macayla and Lani Paragas provide speed and experience. Saugus looks like the prime contender to knock Valencia off its throne with a potent lineup paced by Tennessee commitments McKenna Gibson and Gracie Keene. Junior Libbie McMahon is a returning All-CIF player who is committed to UC Davis. Leslie Reynaga and Malia Risdall will complement each other in the circle with Long Island University-bound Maya Avila serving as a capable catcher. Hart has a pair of studs in Notre Dame-bound shortstop Brooke Marquez and UC Davis-bound Aly Kaneshiro. Pitching will be key for Hart with freshman Allison Howell, Brooke Dragolski and Amanda Souza all expecting to contribute in the circle. Sisters Kathryn Smudde and Kameron Smudde and Rachel Chobanian will also be impact players. Golden Valley was the darling of the league last season and has a star in Cal-bound Sophie Medellin, but the loss of Cassidy Cangemi (Boise State) will be tough to overcome. Nicole Smart is also a player to watch for Golden Valley. West Ranch boasts Princeton-bound Adrienne Chang, pitcher Jenna Rorick and Long Beach State-bound Sara Olson. West Valley League Chatsworth is the West Valley League and City favorite, especially with Wisconsin-bound left-hander Ava Justman in its arsenal. Senior catcher Emily Justman gives Chatsworth a sibling battery and quite a 1-2 punch. Senior Tea Carbajal, junior Isabella Pagnini, senior Amanda Clack and junior Jasmine Wehn are also returners with championship experience. El Camino Real will challenge Chatsworth once again, boasting the prodigious Jordyn VanHook, an Arizona State commit. Outfielder Caitlyn Wall and sophomore pitcher Jillian Kelly will help keep ECR in the City’s upper echelon. Cassie Swenson will be the leader for Cleveland in the West Valley, and Gwen Pederson will pace Granada Hills. Valley Mission League Expect San Fernando and Kennedy to duke it out for the Valley Mission League crown.San Fernando has a strong senior core in Lily Garcia (Seattle University), Mel Paz (Morgan State) and Savannah Alarcon (University of San Diego). Lexy Angulo, Paz and sophomore Justine Bergera will share time in the circle. Hawaii-bound catcher Tiare LaPorte will pace Kennedy, which gets a boost from Alemany transfer Leah Brito, a UC Riverside-bound shortstop. Returner Aliyah Rincon and freshman Savannah Arreguin will share pitching duties. Angelica Franco and Sabrina Morales are also key returners. The Daily News’ 2019 softball preview asks 19 burning questions heading into the season. WHICH AREA TEAM STANDS ABOVE THE REST? That would be Oaks Christian. The Lions have shortstop Maya Brady, several key returners from last year’s Marmonte League championship team and a slew of pitching. But the reality of playing in the loaded CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs means that the area’s best team will be a longshot for a potential CIF crown. WHO IS THE BEST POSITION PLAYER IN THE AREA? It starts with Oaks Christian’s Maya Brady. El Camino Real’s Arizona State-bound Jordyn VanHook, Hart’s Notre Dame-bound Brooke Marquez, Golden Valley’s Cal-bound Sophie Medellin and Saugus’ McKenna Gibson are also on the early Watch List. WHO IS THE ACE OF THE AREA? Chatsworth’s Ava Justman. The Wisconsin-bound left-hander powered Chatsworth to its second City title in four years, and she has the luxury of working with her sister Emily Justman. Other potential aces include: Chaminade’s Tessa Magnamino, Newbury Park’s Cory Carrillo, Crescenta Valley’s DeeDee Hernandez, Oaks Christian’s Lexi Berg, Westlake’s Lexy Campbell, Grace Brethren’s Jessie Fontes and Louisville’s Grace Luderer all have ace material. HOW DO THE AREA’S DEFENDING CIF CHAMPIONS LOOK? In the words of Joe Davis, “To beat the champ, you’ve got to knock them out.” Newbury Park, Chaminade and Highland are defending CIF champions, but the road to back-to-back titles became more difficult as all three teams moved up divisions. Newbury Park went from Division 2 into the Death Division that is Division 1. Chaminade moves from Division 3 to Division 2, and Highland moves from Division 6 to Division 3. WHO IS THE DARKHORSE OF THE AREA? Got to go with Westlake. If Westlake can make the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs – and a top-three finish in the Marmonte League is not a given – it will emerge as a viable Division 4 title contender. Pitchers Kylie Chung and UC Santa Barbara-bound Lexy Campbell are a potent 1-2 punch in the circle. Freshman shortstop Emily Jones is the jewel of a prized freshman class that includes Kennedy Bunker (catcher) and Mariah Elohim (third base). Catcher Daryn Siegel is a transfer from Windward who will also be impactful. WHO IS PASSIONATELY SMASHING EVERY EXPECTATION? El Camino Real’s Jordyn “Valley Circle” VanHook. In her first at-bat of the season — against Chaminade ace Magnamino – VanHook blasted a homer onto the middle of Valley Circle Blvd. It was the second home run to reach Valley Circle, and the Arizona State-bound VanHook has done it both times. Her homers are prodigious, but many teams might elect not to pitch to her this season. El Camino Real will probably bat VanHook in the leadoff spot, forcing more teams to pitch to her. HOW IS THE MISSION LEAGUE SHAPING UP? Defending Mission League and CIF champion Chaminade looks like the favorite, especially with Wisconsin-bound Tessa Magnamino in the circle. Magnamino was the Mission League’s pitcher of the year with a 21-3 record, 239 strikeouts and eight walks with a 0.75 ERA. Gabby Hensley and freshman Payton Wagner will also be impact players for Chaminade. Samantha Fontaine, Toni Lopez and Lilly Travieso form a solid core for Alemany. Notre Dame should be a threat with sophomore pitcher Dahlia Frank, sophomore Alyssa Aguilar and junior third baseman Jules Vargas. Emily Nutting is Harvard-Westlake’s top returning bat. WHAT TRANSFER REVERBERATED THROUGHOUT THE AREA? The schools might only be a mile apart, but Amber Toven’s transfer from Chatsworth to Sierra Canyon made waves throughout the area. While defending City champion Chatsworth loses its most consistent returning bat in an offense that will need to scrape together runs for ace Ava Justman, it was a boon for Sierra Canyon. Toven is a quality shortstop with a discerning eye at the plate and an innate ability to square up the ball. Sierra Canyon also welcomed in La Reina transfer Tara Tweedy, who will be in the circle. Catcher Sara Schneider is a four-year standout. Janae Weise provides plenty of power, and freshman Sidney Schneider will also be an impact bat for Sierra Canyon, which is just two years removed from a CIF final and will be looking to rebound from last year’s second-round loss to eventual champion Santa Fe. Other notable transfers include Leah Brito going from Alemany to Kennedy, Amanda DeYoung going from Canyon to Valencia and Daryn Siegel going from Windward to Westlake. WILL CRESCENTA VALLEY REPEAT IN THE PACIFIC LEAGUE? Most likely. Crescenta Valley will ride sophomore DeeDee Hernandez, the league’s reigning pitcher of the year who went 21-2 with 162 strikeouts in 131 innings while batting .556 with 45 RBIs. Senior Alyssa Hernandez, senior outfielder Kristy Taix and senior infielder Maddie DeLeon are also returning first-team all-league picks for Crescenta Valley. Burroughs will try to chase down Crescenta Valley, especially with Chloe Brookmeyer back after earning the league’s Player of the Year award. Seniors Sarah Garelick, Amara Broyls and Alex Davis provide a strong foundation for Burbank. Senior pitcher Aurora Funaro will lead Glendale. BEST FRESHMAN IN THE AREA? Westlake shortstop Emily Jones. She is a super-slapper with blazing speed and an incredible arm, making her well-equipped to handle Westlake’s middle infield for the next four years. WHICH TEAM HAS HAD THE ROUGHEST OFFSEASON? Definitely Chatsworth. Though every team had to deal with the thunderstorms washing out practices and scrimmages, Chatsworth had to contend with major construction at the  school that further limited the Chancellors, and the rain compounded the situation. Despite those conditions, Chatsworth delivered a 2-0 season-opening victory over Saugus with little practice time. HOW WILL AGOURA SHAKE UP THE COASTAL CANYON LEAGUE? Agoura moves from the Marmonte League to the Coastal Canyon and will be in the mix for a playoff spot. Camarillo should be the favorite if pitcher Eryka Gonzalez is healthy. Royal will be a league title contender and opened with a 5-0 win over Oaks Christian. Pitcher Hannah Sattler, Allison Ha and Lauren Lapinid figure to be the leaders for Royal, which beat rival Simi Valley all three times they met last season. Center fielder Jessica Cross and catcher Chaela Chowder will lead Simi Valley. If Agoura is going to break into the top three, it must replace three Division 1 players in pitcher Lexy Mills (Kansas), Tyler Goldstein (UC Santa Barbara) and Sam Demyon (UC Riverside). Four-year starter Caitlyn Danovich, headed to Division 1 Rider University, will provide the foundation. Sophomore Adriana Gonzalez and shortstop Alyssa Anderson will also try to boost Agoura. EIGHT PICKS FOR THE CITY’S OPEN DIVISION? Chatsworth and El Camino Real from the West Valley League. San Fernando and Kennedy from the Valley Mission League. Carson, San Pedro and Banning from the Marine League. And then the special pick: three-time defending City champion View Park Prep, which has won the Division 4, Division 3 and Division 2 titles in successive seasons. Now that View Park Prep is Division 1, it seems like an Open Division berth is within its reach. Defending Division 1 champion Cleveland, Granada Hills, Sun Valley Poly and Eagle Rock could also vie for that final Open Division berth with the rest becoming instant Division 1 contenders. Chavez could make some noise in Division 2. WHICH SOUTHERN SECTION TEAMS ARE ON THE INITIAL CIF WATCH LIST? Quite a few actually. Valencia and Newbury Park in Division 1, Chaminade in Division 2, Highland in Division 3, Westlake, Harvard-Westlake and La Reina in Division 4, Glendale and Grace Brethren in Division 5 and Flintridge Prep in Division 7. WHICH FORMER AREA PLAYER WILL HAVE THE BEST COLLEGIATE SEASON? Duh. Highland’s Rachel Garcia is the No. 1-ranked collegiate player in the country who powered UCLA to the College World Series last season. Do yourself a favor and make your way to Westwood to watch Garcia in action. WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT OF DEFENDING CIF CHAMPION HIGHLAND? Highland will be the Golden League favorites. Sophomore pitcher Annika Gugler takes over in the circle for last year’s CIF player of the year, Catalina Aguilar, who is now at Palomar College. Senior Rozelyn Carrillo is a senior captain committed to South Dakota who played for the Mexico Junior National Team. Senior second baseman Alexa Alvarez transferred from Palmdale. Lancaster ace Alyssa McIntosh is one of the league’s top players. Quartz Hill and Knight will also be in the mix. WHO HAS THE BEST SOFTBALL FIELD? El Camino Real. Coach Jodi Borenstein has the ECR diamond looking as pristine as Dodger Stadium. WHO HAS HAD THE FREAKIEST INJURY? Notre Dame’s Jules Vargas attended a softball camp in Boston. In the final 10 minutes of the camp, Vargas was drilled by a wicked riseball during a scrimmage and sustained a broken wrist. Vargas will likely miss the next three weeks but should still return in time to help Notre Dame push for a Mission League crown. AND MAYBE THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION: WHO BOASTS THE BEST SNACK BAR? Kennedy. Hands down. And don’t miss the April 26 game against rival San Fernando. Not only will the Valley Mission League title be on the line, but Kennedy busts out the tacos for the only time of the year for a can’t-miss culinary experience. Mark your calendars.
13 Feb 19
Purvish's Blog

What is quality? (based on a text book – Quality management for organizational Excellence: introduction to total quality by David L. Goetsch, Stanley B. Davis; Seventh Edition & Eight Edition) Answer: Quality has been defined in a number of different ways by a number of different people and organizations. Consider the following definitions: – Boeing defines […]

12 Feb 19
Extraordinarytravelz

  One of my all time favorite destinations is Cal-a-Vie Spa  (www.cal-a-vie.com) located in  Vista California, outside San Diego.  It is literally heavenly.  A group of girlfriends and I meet there every January, and I couldn’t wait for this years trip.  After our whirlwind Asian adventure, I was looking forward to completely relaxing, with no […]

12 Feb 19
The Bali News Wire

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — After talks between Pilots Union Taoyuan and China Airlines (CAL) broke down yesterday (Feb. 9), Taiwan’s first airline pilot strike has entered its third day, resulting in 20 more flight cancellations today. According the latest information from the CAL website, 20 flights scheduled for today and tomorrow have been canceled and […]

09 Feb 19
Press Telegram
LOS ANGELES — USC basketball coach Andy Enfield sounded irritated. It was at a moment late in a news conference last month following the Trojans’ Pac-12 Conference opener against Cal when he was asked about a flagrant foul called against junior forward Nick Rakocevic in the second half. Enfield’s patience was tested. He told reporters it was the fifth time that Rakocevic had been whistled for a flagrant foul this season, and he had little interest in seeing the scenario repeated. “Honestly, we’re just tired of it,” Enfield said. “He has to start to act like a veteran player.” As he continued, he remained exasperated. “He just has to stop it,” Enfield said. “He’s too good of a player and is playing too well.” Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here. The issue has since persisted. In the Trojans’ 77-70 loss to Utah on Wednesday, Rakocevic drew a pair of flagrant fouls in the first half, likely giving him more than a half-dozen this season. There is no exact tally of flagrant fouls kept by the Pac-12, which only tracks players’ technical fouls. In the instances against Utah, Rakocevic appeared to elbow an opposing player, prompting the officials to call him for flagrant-1 fouls, which brought two free throws and possession for the Utes. The sequences have been sore spots in an otherwise impressive winter by the lanky 6-foot-11 forward, who has blossomed into a Pac-12 Player of the Year candidate in his first full season as a fixture in the starting lineup, averaging a near-double-double with 16 points and 9.9 rebounds entering Saturday night’s game against Colorado. Among the players in the conference, only Arizona State forward Zylan Cheatham grabs more rebounds per game than Rakocevic. Enfield, while speaking after the game late Wednesday, lamented the first flagrant foul by Rakocevic against Utah. It was drawn after a 3-pointer by forward Riley Battin, a little more than six minutes after the opening tip-off when there was a narrow gap between the teams. Center Jayce Johnson then went to the free-throw line and made the second of his attempts. Utah kept possession, forward Timmy Allen hit a jump shot of his own, and the Utes’ early lead over the Trojans grew by six points early in the convincing win. “It takes a lot of your momentum away and it kind of deflates your team, which has happened before,” Enfield said. “That wasn’t the sole cause of our loss, but it doesn’t help.” The Trojans (13-10, 6-4 Pac-12) fell behind by as many as 20 points in the first half against Utah and suffered their first home loss in more than two months (and first against a conference foe). Asked if he felt Rakocevic had garnered a reputation among officiating crews as the flagrant fouls have stacked up, Enfield shrugged and said he didn’t know. Rakocevic has previously described himself as an emotional player, a product of the Chicago native’s Serbian descent, and relishes his energetic role on the floor, but it can be a difficult line to straddle. “He has to do a better job of playing within the rules and playing hard,” Enfield said. [related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-tag”]Some sharper discipline would benefit the Trojans, as they vie to get back on track against Colorado, which arrives at the Galen Center with some momentum after toppling UCLA at Pauley Pavilion earlier this week. The Buffaloes (13-9, 4-6) are 10th in the conference standings, but amid a logjam of teams in the middle of the standings, sitting just behind eight teams that are either 6-4 or 5-5 in conference play. Sophomore guard McKinley Wright has led Colorado with 12.7 points and five assists per game, despite playing with a dislocated shoulder. The Trojans swept Colorado last season and have won four in a row in the series. Their last loss to the Buffaloes was in 2015.
09 Feb 19
Daily Breeze
LOS ANGELES — USC basketball coach Andy Enfield sounded irritated. It was at a moment late in a news conference last month following the Trojans’ Pac-12 Conference opener against Cal when he was asked about a flagrant foul called against junior forward Nick Rakocevic in the second half. Enfield’s patience was tested. He told reporters it was the fifth time that Rakocevic had been whistled for a flagrant foul this season, and he had little interest in seeing the scenario repeated. “Honestly, we’re just tired of it,” Enfield said. “He has to start to act like a veteran player.” As he continued, he remained exasperated. “He just has to stop it,” Enfield said. “He’s too good of a player and is playing too well.” Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here. The issue has since persisted. In the Trojans’ 77-70 loss to Utah on Wednesday, Rakocevic drew a pair of flagrant fouls in the first half, likely giving him more than a half-dozen this season. There is no exact tally of flagrant fouls kept by the Pac-12, which only tracks players’ technical fouls. In the instances against Utah, Rakocevic appeared to elbow an opposing player, prompting the officials to call him for flagrant-1 fouls, which brought two free throws and possession for the Utes. The sequences have been sore spots in an otherwise impressive winter by the lanky 6-foot-11 forward, who has blossomed into a Pac-12 Player of the Year candidate in his first full season as a fixture in the starting lineup, averaging a near-double-double with 16 points and 9.9 rebounds entering Saturday night’s game against Colorado. Among the players in the conference, only Arizona State forward Zylan Cheatham grabs more rebounds per game than Rakocevic. Enfield, while speaking after the game late Wednesday, lamented the first flagrant foul by Rakocevic against Utah. It was drawn after a 3-pointer by forward Riley Battin, a little more than six minutes after the opening tip-off when there was a narrow gap between the teams. Center Jayce Johnson then went to the free-throw line and made the second of his attempts. Utah kept possession, forward Timmy Allen hit a jump shot of his own, and the Utes’ early lead over the Trojans grew by six points early in the convincing win. “It takes a lot of your momentum away and it kind of deflates your team, which has happened before,” Enfield said. “That wasn’t the sole cause of our loss, but it doesn’t help.” The Trojans (13-10, 6-4 Pac-12) fell behind by as many as 20 points in the first half against Utah and suffered their first home loss in more than two months (and first against a conference foe). Asked if he felt Rakocevic had garnered a reputation among officiating crews as the flagrant fouls have stacked up, Enfield shrugged and said he didn’t know. Rakocevic has previously described himself as an emotional player, a product of the Chicago native’s Serbian descent, and relishes his energetic role on the floor, but it can be a difficult line to straddle. “He has to do a better job of playing within the rules and playing hard,” Enfield said. [related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-tag”]Some sharper discipline would benefit the Trojans, as they vie to get back on track against Colorado, which arrives at the Galen Center with some momentum after toppling UCLA at Pauley Pavilion earlier this week. The Buffaloes (13-9, 4-6) are 10th in the conference standings, but amid a logjam of teams in the middle of the standings, sitting just behind eight teams that are either 6-4 or 5-5 in conference play. Sophomore guard McKinley Wright has led Colorado with 12.7 points and five assists per game, despite playing with a dislocated shoulder. The Trojans swept Colorado last season and have won four in a row in the series. Their last loss to the Buffaloes was in 2015.
09 Feb 19
Daily News
LOS ANGELES — USC basketball coach Andy Enfield sounded irritated. It was at a moment late in a news conference last month following the Trojans’ Pac-12 Conference opener against Cal when he was asked about a flagrant foul called against junior forward Nick Rakocevic in the second half. Enfield’s patience was tested. He told reporters it was the fifth time that Rakocevic had been whistled for a flagrant foul this season, and he had little interest in seeing the scenario repeated. “Honestly, we’re just tired of it,” Enfield said. “He has to start to act like a veteran player.” As he continued, he remained exasperated. “He just has to stop it,” Enfield said. “He’s too good of a player and is playing too well.” Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here. The issue has since persisted. In the Trojans’ 77-70 loss to Utah on Wednesday, Rakocevic drew a pair of flagrant fouls in the first half, likely giving him more than a half-dozen this season. There is no exact tally of flagrant fouls kept by the Pac-12, which only tracks players’ technical fouls. In the instances against Utah, Rakocevic appeared to elbow an opposing player, prompting the officials to call him for flagrant-1 fouls, which brought two free throws and possession for the Utes. The sequences have been sore spots in an otherwise impressive winter by the lanky 6-foot-11 forward, who has blossomed into a Pac-12 Player of the Year candidate in his first full season as a fixture in the starting lineup, averaging a near-double-double with 16 points and 9.9 rebounds entering Saturday night’s game against Colorado. Among the players in the conference, only Arizona State forward Zylan Cheatham grabs more rebounds per game than Rakocevic. Enfield, while speaking after the game late Wednesday, lamented the first flagrant foul by Rakocevic against Utah. It was drawn after a 3-pointer by forward Riley Battin, a little more than six minutes after the opening tip-off when there was a narrow gap between the teams. Center Jayce Johnson then went to the free-throw line and made the second of his attempts. Utah kept possession, forward Timmy Allen hit a jump shot of his own, and the Utes’ early lead over the Trojans grew by six points early in the convincing win. “It takes a lot of your momentum away and it kind of deflates your team, which has happened before,” Enfield said. “That wasn’t the sole cause of our loss, but it doesn’t help.” The Trojans (13-10, 6-4 Pac-12) fell behind by as many as 20 points in the first half against Utah and suffered their first home loss in more than two months (and first against a conference foe). Asked if he felt Rakocevic had garnered a reputation among officiating crews as the flagrant fouls have stacked up, Enfield shrugged and said he didn’t know. Rakocevic has previously described himself as an emotional player, a product of the Chicago native’s Serbian descent, and relishes his energetic role on the floor, but it can be a difficult line to straddle. “He has to do a better job of playing within the rules and playing hard,” Enfield said. [related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-tag”]Some sharper discipline would benefit the Trojans, as they vie to get back on track against Colorado, which arrives at the Galen Center with some momentum after toppling UCLA at Pauley Pavilion earlier this week. The Buffaloes (13-9, 4-6) are 10th in the conference standings, but amid a logjam of teams in the middle of the standings, sitting just behind eight teams that are either 6-4 or 5-5 in conference play. Sophomore guard McKinley Wright has led Colorado with 12.7 points and five assists per game, despite playing with a dislocated shoulder. The Trojans swept Colorado last season and have won four in a row in the series. Their last loss to the Buffaloes was in 2015.
09 Feb 19
Whittier Daily News
LOS ANGELES — USC basketball coach Andy Enfield sounded irritated. It was at a moment late in a news conference last month following the Trojans’ Pac-12 Conference opener against Cal when he was asked about a flagrant foul called against junior forward Nick Rakocevic in the second half. Enfield’s patience was tested. He told reporters it was the fifth time that Rakocevic had been whistled for a flagrant foul this season, and he had little interest in seeing the scenario repeated. “Honestly, we’re just tired of it,” Enfield said. “He has to start to act like a veteran player.” As he continued, he remained exasperated. “He just has to stop it,” Enfield said. “He’s too good of a player and is playing too well.” Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here. The issue has since persisted. In the Trojans’ 77-70 loss to Utah on Wednesday, Rakocevic drew a pair of flagrant fouls in the first half, likely giving him more than a half-dozen this season. There is no exact tally of flagrant fouls kept by the Pac-12, which only tracks players’ technical fouls. In the instances against Utah, Rakocevic appeared to elbow an opposing player, prompting the officials to call him for flagrant-1 fouls, which brought two free throws and possession for the Utes. The sequences have been sore spots in an otherwise impressive winter by the lanky 6-foot-11 forward, who has blossomed into a Pac-12 Player of the Year candidate in his first full season as a fixture in the starting lineup, averaging a near-double-double with 16 points and 9.9 rebounds entering Saturday night’s game against Colorado. Among the players in the conference, only Arizona State forward Zylan Cheatham grabs more rebounds per game than Rakocevic. Enfield, while speaking after the game late Wednesday, lamented the first flagrant foul by Rakocevic against Utah. It was drawn after a 3-pointer by forward Riley Battin, a little more than six minutes after the opening tip-off when there was a narrow gap between the teams. Center Jayce Johnson then went to the free-throw line and made the second of his attempts. Utah kept possession, forward Timmy Allen hit a jump shot of his own, and the Utes’ early lead over the Trojans grew by six points early in the convincing win. “It takes a lot of your momentum away and it kind of deflates your team, which has happened before,” Enfield said. “That wasn’t the sole cause of our loss, but it doesn’t help.” The Trojans (13-10, 6-4 Pac-12) fell behind by as many as 20 points in the first half against Utah and suffered their first home loss in more than two months (and first against a conference foe). Asked if he felt Rakocevic had garnered a reputation among officiating crews as the flagrant fouls have stacked up, Enfield shrugged and said he didn’t know. Rakocevic has previously described himself as an emotional player, a product of the Chicago native’s Serbian descent, and relishes his energetic role on the floor, but it can be a difficult line to straddle. “He has to do a better job of playing within the rules and playing hard,” Enfield said. [related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-tag”]Some sharper discipline would benefit the Trojans, as they vie to get back on track against Colorado, which arrives at the Galen Center with some momentum after toppling UCLA at Pauley Pavilion earlier this week. The Buffaloes (13-9, 4-6) are 10th in the conference standings, but amid a logjam of teams in the middle of the standings, sitting just behind eight teams that are either 6-4 or 5-5 in conference play. Sophomore guard McKinley Wright has led Colorado with 12.7 points and five assists per game, despite playing with a dislocated shoulder. The Trojans swept Colorado last season and have won four in a row in the series. Their last loss to the Buffaloes was in 2015.
09 Feb 19
Pasadena Star News
LOS ANGELES — USC basketball coach Andy Enfield sounded irritated. It was at a moment late in a news conference last month following the Trojans’ Pac-12 Conference opener against Cal when he was asked about a flagrant foul called against junior forward Nick Rakocevic in the second half. Enfield’s patience was tested. He told reporters it was the fifth time that Rakocevic had been whistled for a flagrant foul this season, and he had little interest in seeing the scenario repeated. “Honestly, we’re just tired of it,” Enfield said. “He has to start to act like a veteran player.” As he continued, he remained exasperated. “He just has to stop it,” Enfield said. “He’s too good of a player and is playing too well.” Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here. The issue has since persisted. In the Trojans’ 77-70 loss to Utah on Wednesday, Rakocevic drew a pair of flagrant fouls in the first half, likely giving him more than a half-dozen this season. There is no exact tally of flagrant fouls kept by the Pac-12, which only tracks players’ technical fouls. In the instances against Utah, Rakocevic appeared to elbow an opposing player, prompting the officials to call him for flagrant-1 fouls, which brought two free throws and possession for the Utes. The sequences have been sore spots in an otherwise impressive winter by the lanky 6-foot-11 forward, who has blossomed into a Pac-12 Player of the Year candidate in his first full season as a fixture in the starting lineup, averaging a near-double-double with 16 points and 9.9 rebounds entering Saturday night’s game against Colorado. Among the players in the conference, only Arizona State forward Zylan Cheatham grabs more rebounds per game than Rakocevic. Enfield, while speaking after the game late Wednesday, lamented the first flagrant foul by Rakocevic against Utah. It was drawn after a 3-pointer by forward Riley Battin, a little more than six minutes after the opening tip-off when there was a narrow gap between the teams. Center Jayce Johnson then went to the free-throw line and made the second of his attempts. Utah kept possession, forward Timmy Allen hit a jump shot of his own, and the Utes’ early lead over the Trojans grew by six points early in the convincing win. “It takes a lot of your momentum away and it kind of deflates your team, which has happened before,” Enfield said. “That wasn’t the sole cause of our loss, but it doesn’t help.” The Trojans (13-10, 6-4 Pac-12) fell behind by as many as 20 points in the first half against Utah and suffered their first home loss in more than two months (and first against a conference foe). Asked if he felt Rakocevic had garnered a reputation among officiating crews as the flagrant fouls have stacked up, Enfield shrugged and said he didn’t know. Rakocevic has previously described himself as an emotional player, a product of the Chicago native’s Serbian descent, and relishes his energetic role on the floor, but it can be a difficult line to straddle. “He has to do a better job of playing within the rules and playing hard,” Enfield said. [related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-tag”]Some sharper discipline would benefit the Trojans, as they vie to get back on track against Colorado, which arrives at the Galen Center with some momentum after toppling UCLA at Pauley Pavilion earlier this week. The Buffaloes (13-9, 4-6) are 10th in the conference standings, but amid a logjam of teams in the middle of the standings, sitting just behind eight teams that are either 6-4 or 5-5 in conference play. Sophomore guard McKinley Wright has led Colorado with 12.7 points and five assists per game, despite playing with a dislocated shoulder. The Trojans swept Colorado last season and have won four in a row in the series. Their last loss to the Buffaloes was in 2015.
09 Feb 19
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
LOS ANGELES — USC basketball coach Andy Enfield sounded irritated. It was at a moment late in a news conference last month following the Trojans’ Pac-12 Conference opener against Cal when he was asked about a flagrant foul called against junior forward Nick Rakocevic in the second half. Enfield’s patience was tested. He told reporters it was the fifth time that Rakocevic had been whistled for a flagrant foul this season, and he had little interest in seeing the scenario repeated. “Honestly, we’re just tired of it,” Enfield said. “He has to start to act like a veteran player.” As he continued, he remained exasperated. “He just has to stop it,” Enfield said. “He’s too good of a player and is playing too well.” Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here. The issue has since persisted. In the Trojans’ 77-70 loss to Utah on Wednesday, Rakocevic drew a pair of flagrant fouls in the first half, likely giving him more than a half-dozen this season. There is no exact tally of flagrant fouls kept by the Pac-12, which only tracks players’ technical fouls. In the instances against Utah, Rakocevic appeared to elbow an opposing player, prompting the officials to call him for flagrant-1 fouls, which brought two free throws and possession for the Utes. The sequences have been sore spots in an otherwise impressive winter by the lanky 6-foot-11 forward, who has blossomed into a Pac-12 Player of the Year candidate in his first full season as a fixture in the starting lineup, averaging a near-double-double with 16 points and 9.9 rebounds entering Saturday night’s game against Colorado. Among the players in the conference, only Arizona State forward Zylan Cheatham grabs more rebounds per game than Rakocevic. Enfield, while speaking after the game late Wednesday, lamented the first flagrant foul by Rakocevic against Utah. It was drawn after a 3-pointer by forward Riley Battin, a little more than six minutes after the opening tip-off when there was a narrow gap between the teams. Center Jayce Johnson then went to the free-throw line and made the second of his attempts. Utah kept possession, forward Timmy Allen hit a jump shot of his own, and the Utes’ early lead over the Trojans grew by six points early in the convincing win. “It takes a lot of your momentum away and it kind of deflates your team, which has happened before,” Enfield said. “That wasn’t the sole cause of our loss, but it doesn’t help.” The Trojans (13-10, 6-4 Pac-12) fell behind by as many as 20 points in the first half against Utah and suffered their first home loss in more than two months (and first against a conference foe). Asked if he felt Rakocevic had garnered a reputation among officiating crews as the flagrant fouls have stacked up, Enfield shrugged and said he didn’t know. Rakocevic has previously described himself as an emotional player, a product of the Chicago native’s Serbian descent, and relishes his energetic role on the floor, but it can be a difficult line to straddle. “He has to do a better job of playing within the rules and playing hard,” Enfield said. [related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-tag”]Some sharper discipline would benefit the Trojans, as they vie to get back on track against Colorado, which arrives at the Galen Center with some momentum after toppling UCLA at Pauley Pavilion earlier this week. The Buffaloes (13-9, 4-6) are 10th in the conference standings, but amid a logjam of teams in the middle of the standings, sitting just behind eight teams that are either 6-4 or 5-5 in conference play. Sophomore guard McKinley Wright has led Colorado with 12.7 points and five assists per game, despite playing with a dislocated shoulder. The Trojans swept Colorado last season and have won four in a row in the series. Their last loss to the Buffaloes was in 2015.
09 Feb 19
Redlands Daily Facts
LOS ANGELES — USC basketball coach Andy Enfield sounded irritated. It was at a moment late in a news conference last month following the Trojans’ Pac-12 Conference opener against Cal when he was asked about a flagrant foul called against junior forward Nick Rakocevic in the second half. Enfield’s patience was tested. He told reporters it was the fifth time that Rakocevic had been whistled for a flagrant foul this season, and he had little interest in seeing the scenario repeated. “Honestly, we’re just tired of it,” Enfield said. “He has to start to act like a veteran player.” As he continued, he remained exasperated. “He just has to stop it,” Enfield said. “He’s too good of a player and is playing too well.” Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here. The issue has since persisted. In the Trojans’ 77-70 loss to Utah on Wednesday, Rakocevic drew a pair of flagrant fouls in the first half, likely giving him more than a half-dozen this season. There is no exact tally of flagrant fouls kept by the Pac-12, which only tracks players’ technical fouls. In the instances against Utah, Rakocevic appeared to elbow an opposing player, prompting the officials to call him for flagrant-1 fouls, which brought two free throws and possession for the Utes. The sequences have been sore spots in an otherwise impressive winter by the lanky 6-foot-11 forward, who has blossomed into a Pac-12 Player of the Year candidate in his first full season as a fixture in the starting lineup, averaging a near-double-double with 16 points and 9.9 rebounds entering Saturday night’s game against Colorado. Among the players in the conference, only Arizona State forward Zylan Cheatham grabs more rebounds per game than Rakocevic. Enfield, while speaking after the game late Wednesday, lamented the first flagrant foul by Rakocevic against Utah. It was drawn after a 3-pointer by forward Riley Battin, a little more than six minutes after the opening tip-off when there was a narrow gap between the teams. Center Jayce Johnson then went to the free-throw line and made the second of his attempts. Utah kept possession, forward Timmy Allen hit a jump shot of his own, and the Utes’ early lead over the Trojans grew by six points early in the convincing win. “It takes a lot of your momentum away and it kind of deflates your team, which has happened before,” Enfield said. “That wasn’t the sole cause of our loss, but it doesn’t help.” The Trojans (13-10, 6-4 Pac-12) fell behind by as many as 20 points in the first half against Utah and suffered their first home loss in more than two months (and first against a conference foe). Asked if he felt Rakocevic had garnered a reputation among officiating crews as the flagrant fouls have stacked up, Enfield shrugged and said he didn’t know. Rakocevic has previously described himself as an emotional player, a product of the Chicago native’s Serbian descent, and relishes his energetic role on the floor, but it can be a difficult line to straddle. “He has to do a better job of playing within the rules and playing hard,” Enfield said. [related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-tag”]Some sharper discipline would benefit the Trojans, as they vie to get back on track against Colorado, which arrives at the Galen Center with some momentum after toppling UCLA at Pauley Pavilion earlier this week. The Buffaloes (13-9, 4-6) are 10th in the conference standings, but amid a logjam of teams in the middle of the standings, sitting just behind eight teams that are either 6-4 or 5-5 in conference play. Sophomore guard McKinley Wright has led Colorado with 12.7 points and five assists per game, despite playing with a dislocated shoulder. The Trojans swept Colorado last season and have won four in a row in the series. Their last loss to the Buffaloes was in 2015.