Four in particular have been in the journey for their first section title for two years now, and are hoping to make their third year, and time, the charm. The junior best friend quartet tandem of forward Ariella Martinez, defender Samantha Walker, and the midfield captain duo of Isabela Van Antwerp and Tiffany Torres have tortured their Crosstown League foes in the past two seasons, and this season, without a loss, and most games haven't even been close.
Mainly in part because they only have one goal in mind... getting back to the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Small Schools Division final and winning it all after back-to-back disappointing losses to Los Angeles CES.
The Polar Bears, currently 9-3-4 overall and 3-0 in league play, hosts Diego Rivera of Los Angeles on Friday night at 6 pm for their Homecoming doubleheader with the boys team at Daniels Field.
"I think that if we really apply ourselves we can make it back to the championship game and hopefully this time we will leave as champions," says Walker, who boasts a 3.8 GPA and mainly is the one who marks up the opposing team's best scoring threat.
Van Antwerp, Walker, Torres and Martinez has already accomplished a laundry list of team achievements in two years, with a pair of undefeated Crosstown League titles being at the top of the list. Van Antwerp and Torres both scored 10 goals last season, Martinez with 6, and Walker even scoring twice despite the opportunities for her came few and far between. The four of them feed off each other very well.
"Tiffany, Ariella, Sam, are all terrific players and I love being able to play with them," says Van Antwerp, who along with Torres both boast a solid 3.9 GPA.
To show how they collaborate well with each other, In a January 2 game at the San Pedro Pirate Cup Tournament, Torres delivered a perfectly placed corner kick for Martinez, who headed it in to tie up Paramount at 1-1. "That was one that I was not expecting," Martinez says. "Tiffany gave me such a great ball in the air and I took advantage of it. I felt really good after putting the ball in the net especially because I tied the game."
Torres, who also is a two-time City Section champion with the softball team at POLA, has a goal she'll never forget.
In last year's City Section Small Schools semifinal against Fulton College Prep of Van Nuys, Torres scored the Polar Bears' first and last goals of their 4-1 victory, but that last goal, was a 20-yard shot where she took a pass from Melissa Rodriguez and simply blasted it perfectly in between the Fulton goalie's outstretched arms into the high center portion of the net. Torres only had one thing in mind when she delivered the kick...
"Hopefully it's on frame and it goes in," Torres said, laughing.
There's no laughing matter on the part of both Torres and Van Antwerp, considering they were dubbed by coach Javier Torres as the team's co-captains. Both midfielders take pride in being the team's chosen leaders.
"It feels amazing, I love my team and I believe in them so much," Torres says on being selected co-captain. "Being captain for this team is an honor and I will continue doing all I can to motivate and support these girls. I love them."
Van Antwerp adds: "Being selected as a team captain is really an honor. I love leading the girls and playing with them."
In POLA's recent game against Rancho Dominguez Prep this past Wednesday, Torres and Van Antwerp showed the Lobos why they were dubbed team captains by both providing twin hat tricks of three goals each to power the Polar Bears to a dominant 11-1 victory. Torres has four goals this season, and Van Antwerp already has 16 goals.
"I love playing alongside Tiffany, Isabela, and Samantha," says Martinez, the junior forward. "We have been playing together for three years now and we work so well together. On the field we don’t play as individuals, we play as a team and that is what I love about playing with these girls."