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2012 All-SCV Girls Soccer: Saugus' Serena Smith Banas, The last line

Sweeper made life tough for opponents

Posted: April 7, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 7, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Saugus senior Serena Smith-Banas’ play earned her a scholarship to play soccer at Texas Christian University next season. Saugus senior Serena Smith-Banas’ play earned her a scholarship to play soccer at Texas Christian University next season.
Saugus senior Serena Smith-Banas’ play earned her a scholarship to play soccer at Texas Christian University next season.

There was little doubt who the most intimidating player in the Foothill League was this season.

Coaches had to game plan against her and players always had to account for her. But still, there she was.

The last line of a stellar defense, the senior sweeper was always in the right place at the right time, ready to head the ball out of danger or provide a crucial clearance when one was desperately needed.

And she wasn't one-dimensional, either.

With one kick standing between the Saugus girls soccer team and the first CIF-Southern Section Division I playoff win in school history, it was Smith-Banas who stepped up to the penalty spot.

Cool, calm and collected, she buried the shot and the Centurions defeated Tesoro High 1-1 (5-4 penalty kicks).

And for a senior sweeper known for her defensive abilities, that moment encapsulates Smith-Banas' season - always ready to make the right play.

In that moment it was a goal, but on most occasions it was a header, or a clearance that defined her season.

The Centurions had 15 shutouts this season, and Smith-Banas was integral in every one of them.

That was clear on Feb. 3, when Smith-Banas was forced to leave a game against Valencia on the final play of the first half with her team leading 2-0.

The game ended in a 4-4 tie. It was only the second time all season the Centurions allowed more than one goal.

There was no other single player in the league that demanded the respect that Smith-Banas did.

Always in the right place, at the right time.

And on occasion, she got into the offense, scoring four goals and notching seven assists - and was always a threat to find the other end of a well-placed corner kick.

Now, with her high school career over, and three consecutive Foothill League titles and a perfect 10-0 league season in 2011 under her belt, Smith-Banas is off to Texas Christian University, where she received an athletic scholarship to play soccer at the NCAA Division I school.

For her excellence on the field this season, Smith-Banas has been honored as The Signal's 2012 All-Santa Clarita Valley Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

All-SCV First Team

Monica Allen •
Saugus • Junior
Monica Allen's impact was most felt when she was on the sideline. That's not to say when she was out of the game, but rather, when she was preparing to take a throw-in in the attacking zone. The junior was known throughout the league for her ability to throw deep into the box, and that skill helped her rack up a team-high 12 assists and score three goals, despite missing the final four games of the regular season with a torn ACL.

Stacey Atwater •
Saugus • Senior
The Saugus senior stepped into the limelight this season and made a serious run at player of the year honors before an injury ended her season prematurely. Atwater led the team with 16 goals and posted five assists, despite missing the final six games of the regular season.

Rebecca Harrison • Valencia • Sophomore
The strength of the Vikings' midfield this season, Harrison came on as a sophomore to become a leader on a Valencia squad which rebounded late to finish in third place in league play.

Hailey Jenkins •
Hart • Junior
The strength of the Indians this season was defense, and the junior Jenkins was a vocal leader on the backline. A three-year varsity player, Jenkins was integral in Hart's ability to keep pressure off first-year goalie Ashleigh Tippet and lead the Indians to a second-place league finish.

Kylee MacArthur •
West Ranch • Senior
Kylee MacArthur was a force in the midfield for the Wildcats, using her size to disrupt opponents attacking up the field. Offensively, the senior notched five goals and was a leader on and off the field for West Ranch as it transitioned under a new coach.

Danica Morgan • Hart • Senior
Danica Morgan was a stalwart on an Indians' defense that allowed just 14 goals in 24 games on the season. Her determination made things difficult for attacking forwards to break the Hart backline and she was a leader on Hart's set pieces throughout the season. In addition, Morgan pitched in two goals and an assist on offense.

Kendall Moskal •
West Ranch • Senior
Moskal led the Wildcats to their most successful season in school history this year, scoring 10 goals and five assists. Behind her leadership, West Ranch vaulted up to No. 33 in the ESPNHS Powerade Fab 50 Girls' Soccer Winter Rankings, and reached the postseason for the first time in school history.

Kaila Sargema •
Canyon • Junior
Midfielder Kaila Sargema was the most consistent presence for the Cowboys this season. Sargema led the team with seven goals, five more than the next closest player. She was the go-to player in nearly every game for Canyon and had a dominant skill set on the ground and in the air.

Eryn Spencer •
Valencia • Sophomore
One of the most athletic girls on a young Valencia team, Spencer showed her versatility moving from a central midfielder position to a central striker position. Spencer was an integral part in the Vikings' late-season run to third with five goals and an assist.

Kelsey Steck • Hart • Senior
Short on defensive players, the Indians had to move senior leader Kelsey Steck back to a defensive position. And she didn't disappoint. Steck helped make Hart one of the most feared defensive teams in the league and she also scored four goals.

Angie Weiner •
Saugus • Junior
A freekick in the offensive zone for Saugus meant one thing this season: Angie Weiner. She had one of the most feared legs in the league and picked up much of the slack after Saugus lost goal-leader Stacey Atwater early in the league season. Weiner finished the year with 14 goals and two assists and was an integral factor in keeping the Centurions at the top of the Foothill League.

All-SCV Second Team

Nicolette Cascione • Saugus • Senior
In her first season on the varsity team, Cascione proved to be one of Saugus' top defensive threats. She could mark any of her opponents and would do whatever it took to keep the ball away from their feet. She was tenacious in the air and on the ground and was a defensive star on a talented Saugus defense.

Jenny Chavez • Hart •
One of the top freshman in the league, Chavez led the Indians' offense with 10 goals and added two assists. Her determination and work ethic helped her succeed on the attacking end, and she was able to aid Hart defensively, as well.

Sarah Cipperly • Canyon • Sophomore
The center midfielder possessed a strong soccer IQ this season, working hard as a distributor in the midfield and created a solid tandem with teammate Kaila Sargema.

Destinney Duron • Hart • Sophomore
The only one in the league who could rival Saugus' Monica Allen's ability to take throw-ins in the attacking zone, Duron became a force as the season went on. Duron finished with five goals on the year, but it was her team-high 10 assists that showed her true impact.

Colleen Fleming •
Golden Valley • Junior
The junior stepped up for the Grizzlies this season, moving around the field and filling in at the keeper position where she made big saves to consistently keep Golden Valley in games.

Samantha Jennings •
Golden Valley • Sophomore
The sophomore came on as a star up top for the Grizzlies this season, scoring both goals in Golden Valley's 2-1 victory over Valencia on Jan. 26 - the first Foothill League victory in program history.

Meghan Kennedy • Canyon • Freshman
Only a freshman, Kennedy was strong in the net for Canyon and was a major factor in keeping Canyon within striking distance during league play.

K.T. Koury • West Ranch •
The senior keeper split time in the net during the first half of the season before her skills between the pipes demanded she start full time. Koury consistently came up with big saves and kept West Ranch in games when its offense struggled.

Hailey Reynolds • West Ranch • Senior
The West Ranch senior utilized her speed up top to score four goals and net four assists for West Ranch this season. Reynolds became a consistent threat later in the season, as she helped spark a Wildcats team that had experienced offensive struggles.

Lizzy Rivas • Saugus • Senior
Rivas got a chance to shine in her third year on the varsity squad after playing a backup role for much of her first two seasons on the team. She made the most of her opportunity, moving around the field from a center midfielder position to fill in for an injured Stacey Atwater at forward.

Brooklyn Stevens • Valencia • Junior
Stevens was an anchor on the defense this season. She played up to the level of bigger defenders in the league and made life difficult for opposing forwards because of her tenacious approach on the field.

Honorable Mentions

Courtney Holliday • Canyon • Senior

Joanna Lagunas • Golden Valley • Senior

Presley Lambert • Hart • Junior

Megan Gallagher • SCCS • Junior

Maddie Hebert • Saugus • Sophomore

Kaeli Massetto • Trinity • Senior

Nicole Joseph • Valencia • Freshman

Valerie Mercado • West Ranch • Junior



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