Two of the Pacific Coast Athletic League’s top players this winter played in Watsonville, the coaches of the four-tiered league recently determined.
Watsonville’s junior forward Elyanna Magdaleno was named the Most Valuable Player in the Mission division, and Monte Vista Christian junior defender Sophie Bessa earned M.V.P. honors in the Cypress division.
Magdaleno scored 27 goals — the fifth most in the Central Coast Section, according to the stats kept by MaxPreps — to help the Wildcatz win the PCAL-Mission and earn the top seed in the CCS Division II playoffs.
Bessa scored no goals and made only one assist, but was an ace defender who led the Mustangs during their run to the PCAL-Cypress title and the top seed in the CCS D-IV playoffs.
Magdaleno, who transferred from Ceiba College Prep after her freshman year, had five multi-goal games as Watsonville pieced together a 12-1-1 league season and a 15-5-1 overall record. She also played in the midfield and on defense when the Wildcatz were down a player.
“I’ve always moved from different positions,” Magdaleno said in the days leading up to the CCS playoffs. “I’ve played goalie, defense…I enjoy it. I feel like I can play anywhere my coach wants me to.”
Bessa was an all-league first team selection as a sophomore last winter, and pushed her game to another level to play the free-flowing sweeper position — the Mustangs’ last line of defense. M.V.C. finished PCAL-Cypress action with a 10-0-2 record and completed its season at 14-3-4 overall.
With Bessa leading the way, the Mustangs posted eight shutouts.
“It’s really humbling, it’s really cool to me that I can stand out to other people like that,” Bessa said when asked about the possibility of being named M.V.P. during the final stretch of the league season. “It never really occurs to me that people look at the way I play like that. I try to play my game, and do the best for me and my team — especially my team.”
Pajaro Valley sophomore striker Jasmin Castillo also earned a special all-league honor. Despite the Grizzlies’ winless league season, Castillo was named the Offensive M.V.P. in the PCAL-Cypress following her second consecutive season with double-digit goal totals.
Castillo last winter was named the Newcomer of the Year in the Monterey Bay League Pacific division.
Those three stars joined nine other local players in earning all-league first team recognition.
North Monterey County’s sophomore forward Maria Ramirez and freshman defender Nathalie Maravillo were named to the All-PCAL-Gabilan First Team.
Ramirez scored a team-high 18 goals, and Maravillo dished a pair of assists while also starring for a solid defense that helped the Condors finish with a 9-6-1 overall record.
N.M.C., which featured only two seniors, placed fourth in the PCAL-G with a 3-6-1 record.
Christopher’s Aurea Martin and San Benito’s Carly Lowi shared league M.V.P. honors, and Alisal’s Yesenia Tijerina was named the Offensive M.V.P.
Magdaleno joined teammates Brianna Guerrero and Ashley Haduca on the All-PCAL-Mission First Team. Guerrero, a sophomore, and Haduca, a senior, starred in the midfield for Watsonville.
M.V.C.’s junior midfielder Caroline Sullivan, senior forward Kailey Morrell and sophomore forward Shayna Lebovitz made the All-PCAL-Cypress First Team with Bessa.
St. Francis also had senior midfielder Riley Croghan and freshman forward Makenna Bedolla make the All-PCAL-Cypress First Team.
The Sharks placed fourth in the PCAL-Cypress with a 6-6 league record, and finished 7-6-1 overall.
Seaside senior keeper Meleseni Moala was named the Defensive M.V.P. in the PCAL-Cypress.
Twelve locals earned second team honors: Evelyn Orozco (N.M.C.), Samantha Mount (N.M.C.), Zuli Alcantar (Watsonville), Jocelyn Gonzales (Watsonville), Nayeli Jimenez (Watsonville), Jana Komposch (M.V.C.), Sara Thornburg (M.V.C.), Megan Zanardelli (M.V.C.), Stephanie Rebottaro (M.V.C.), Ashley Raich (St. Francis), Reese McLeod (St. Francis) and Adriana Mondragon (Pajaro Valley).
Editor's Note: This article will publish in the March 15 edition of the Register-Pajaronian.