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Jaguars are 2009 CIF Soccer Champs!

By Coach Ken Berry  received April 1st, 2009

Editor's Note - the cover letter from Alverno that accompanied Coach Berry's story also mentioned that coach Ken Berry is CIF coach of the year, and senior Ameenah Issa was named CIF Offensive Player of the year

Click photos to enlarge

The 2009 soccer season has just ended and if you have not heard, the Jaguar team has had an amazing season, with a 19-1-2 record.  This is the ninth year that the soccer team is the Horizon League Champions and it now has the honor of being the first Division 7 CIF Champions.  This is only the third time in Alverno’s history that a team has brought home a CIF championship, and the first time the win was in soccer. The team had championship years in softball in 1981 and 2004, the last under the coaching of Frankie Russo.

How has this happened?  It starts with the dedication and commitment of many people.  The athletes have devoted their time after school to the many hours of practice and conditioning required to be a championship team.  The team displayed an intense work ethic throughout the season working hard on conditioning days, giving that extra effort during drills and making the effort to become this cohesive championship team.  Captains Ameenah Issa and Marina Lesse worked hard organizing the team during practices and on the field.  The coaching staff is very proud of how hard this team has worked to become a powerful group of determined ladies who would not give up during any of the 23 games we played this season.  They listened well to our directions, carried them out on the field, played hard and adapted to all situations becoming the best soccer team Alverno has ever seen.

It takes a whole team effort to become champions.  The Jaguar team had 134 goals scored (see the (#/#) for goals/assists).  This is the largest number of goals scored by any team that I have coached in my 9 years as Alverno soccer coach, and as far as I know, in the history of Alverno.  It all starts with the defense.  Freshman goalkeeper Chellee Parker (0/3) played every minute of all 23 games and only allowed a total of 10 goals to be scored against us.  The defensive line of Lauren Sanchez, Gaby Vasquez (3/3), Karineh Minissian (2/3), Regina Cabrera, Mackenzie Winslow and Becca Iraheta (1/0) worked hard to minimize the goals that were scored against us.  With a strong midfield of Maha Abdallah (18/12), Ameenah Issa (18/9), Marina Lesse (14/21), Briana Alvarado (11/8), Cassie Saavedra (18/8) and Courtney Conte (5/9) they not only helped the defense but also the offense.  And last but not least our offensive line of Jessica Capra (19/7), Celina Minissian (23/16), Corrie Antillon (0/3) and Hana Lemseffer (2/0).

I am grateful for the dedication of my coaching staff that worked tirelessly to make this a winning year.  Coach Semeen Issa brought her soccer expertise to the team and was at every practice helping to fine tune the team.  Coach Steve Lesse helped with reporting scores, calling the newspapers to be sure there was an Alverno story in the papers, kept incredible statistics and gave valuable advice concerning our line-up.  Coach Alfred Alvarado warmed up goalkeeper Chellee before games and could always be heard on the sidelines supporting the team.

As a final note, we all experienced the sadness involving the passing of our long-time Athletic Director Frankie Russo.  The team dedicated the last games and the championship to his memory.  I know he is looking down at this incredible achievement and is smiling.

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