Fryer: Cypress soccer peaking at right time


It was not a good December for the Cypress girls soccer team.

The Centurions were tying or losing against teams they probably should have defeated. A good reason for that existed.

“At one time we had eight players out,” Cypress coach Nicole Woiemberghe said.

Cypress got better, physically and on the pitch. The Centurions went 10-0 in the Empire League to win the league championship.

They were seeded third in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs. They have lived up to it. Cypress rolled to wins of 4-0 over Flintridge Prep of La Canada in the first round; 4-2 over Dos Pueblos of Goleta in the second round and 5-1 over Torrance in the quarterfinals before a 1-0 victory over Quartz Hill in the semifinals Tuesday.

Cypress plays West Torrance in the Division 3 championship game Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at Warren of Downey.

The Centurions play an attacking, high-pressure style. So, Woiemberghe said, they need to be a bit careful against West Torrance’s Warriors.

“They’re very good at their set pieces,” she said. “We need to make sure we stay organized in the back.”

Cypress junior forward Jenna Dages was OC Varsity player of the week for scoring four goals with an assist over last week’s second-round and quarterfinals wins. Senior midfielder Kelly Kessloff and senior goalkeeper Brooke Riddle also have been players key to Cypress’ success, Woiemberghe said. Kessloff will play college soccer at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and Riddle will play at Trinity Lutheran in Washington state.

They are leaders of a team that Woimberghe finds easy and enjoyable to coach.

“These girls get along really well,” Woimberghe said. “They want to win for each other.”

Winning is easier when there are more “each others” able to play.

Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:

• Ticket sales at Honda Center and at participating schools for CIF-SS basketball finals are cash-only transactions.

• In the boys basketball championships Saturday at Honda Center, the 1A final of Edison vs. Foothill is the 8:30 p.m. game and the Open Division game, Bishop Montgomery of Torrance vs. Etiwanda, is the 6:30 p.m. game because Fox Sports’ Prime Ticket is televising the Open Division game and wanted it in that 6:30 time slot.

•’s Prep Zone will stream live 14 boys and girls basketball championship games and 11 boys and girls soccer games.

• Fox is paying the Southern Section $125,000 in rights fees this school year to televise and live stream online various sports. That’s about 2½ times what the section received in TV rights fees last year before agreeing to a six-year contract with Fox that extends through June of 2020.

• CIF-SS marketing director John Costello said a participating school gets around $2,000 for a televised regular-season football game, and around $750 for a game streamed on the Internet. The section keeps all revenue for playoffs.

• Costello is one of the more valuable officers in the Southern Section. When he took the marketing job in 2000, the section’s corporate sponsorship revenue was $162,000. This school year it will be $825,000.

• Honda Center again will be site of CIF-SS boys basketball finals next year.

• Edison boys basketball coach Rich Boyce and Foothill boys basketball coach Rusty Van Cleave were assistant coaches at Estancia under Tim Parsel. When Boyce succeeded Parsel, Van Cleave remained as an assistant before going to Santa Margarita as an assistant coach there.

• The CIF State office Sunday will release brackets for the Southern California Regionals, which is the qualifying tournament for the CIF State finals.

• CIF-SS Open Division teams that won first-round playoff games and the Open’s consolation bracket champion are guaranteed Regionals berths. Champions of the other 11 girls divisions and of the other 11 boys divisions also are guaranteed berths in the state tournament.

• CIF-SS Open Division teams might be in the Open Division in the state tournament or could be placed in one of the state tournament’s other five enrollment-based divisions. Most CIF-SS teams that qualify for the state tournament will play in the same state division that they played in during CIF-SS playoffs; i.e. CIF-SS division 1AA and 1A teams are in state tournament Division 1, CIF-SS 2AA and 2A teams are in state Division 2, etc.

• In the lower basketball divisions, state-qualified teams that were in, say, CIF-SS 5AA could be in CIF State Division 4 because of different divisional enrollment parameters from CIF-SS to CIF State.

• Orange Lutheran’s first football, boys basketball and track coach, Bob Dowding, died Feb. 24. He was one of five full-time teachers on staff when the school opened in 1973. Dowding also was Lutheran’s first athletic director; as the school grew, he relinquished some duties but continued as football coach until 1989.

• Two South Coast League baseball teams off to hot starts (records through Wednesday): Dana Hills and Tesoro, 3-0. Our baseball and softball season previews will be published March 14.

• CIF-SS baseball championship games this season will be played in San Bernardino at San Manuel Stadium, home of the Inland Empire 66ers minor league team.

• The National Football Foundation’s Orange County Chapter has its annual Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet on Monday at Anaheim Convention Center. Honorees must be all-league or all-conference first team while maintaining a grade-point average of 3.5 or better. NFL quarterback Mark Sanchez (Santa Margarita, Mission Viejo, USC) is guest speaker.

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