South Pasadena at Crean Lutheran: The Tigers placed second in the Rio Hondo League. They finished the league schedule unbeaten, but tied five of their 10 total matches. That stretch includes two wins in their last five matches. South Pasadena has scored two or more goals in five of its’ last seven matches. The Saints were second in the Academy League behind league champion St. Margaret’s. Crean Lutheran’s defense was stellar during league, allowing only two goals (both in 1-0 defeats to St. Margaret’s). Look for that defense to spark the Saints past the Tigers and into the second round.
Winner: Crean Lutheran
Sage Hill at Bloomington: The Lightning advanced into the first round with a gritty win in penalty kicks against Norte Vista. Sophomore goalie Kekai Whitford scored with less than three minutes to go and had seven saves of the team’s 12 saves in the match. Sage Hill will now travel to face a Bruins team that won 16 of 17 matches in the regular season, including all 10 league contest en route to taking home the title in the Sunkist League. Bloomington has outscored its opposition 64-5 this season and has won nine out of 10 matches at home. Though the Lightning will take confidence with them after a big win on Tuesday, my pick is the Bruins to continue their winning ways and move on.
Tahquitz at St. Margaret’s: The Titans are the third place team from the Mountain Pass League and won six of 10 league matches. They enter the match on a three match winning streak, not allowing a goal in the process. It was another strong effort for St. Margaret’s during Academy League play, as they ran the table in impressive fashion. The Tartans allowed only one goal in nine league matches. The No. 2 overall seed in the Division should begin its’ quest to win a second straight CIF title with a victory at home.
Winner: St. Margaret’s
Whittier Christian at La Serna: The Heralds were 3-4-1 in the Olympic League and qualified by finishing third. They advanced to the first round with a 3-2 overtime victory on the road against Mammoth. The win was their first in their last four matches. The Del Rio champion Lancers are the top overall seed in the division and have played extremely well of late. The Lancers have won eight straight, and during that span, they have outscored their opposition 36-2. The momentum from the Heralds overtime victory should inspire them to play well, but the top-seeded Lancers are my choice to win this one.
Winner: La Serna