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La Cañada High soccer's Megan Decker led Spartans' success with a smile

Playing with passion and skill, La Cañada High junior's versatile play was key to the greatest Spartans season ever.

April 16, 2014|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • La Cañada High junior forward/defender Megan Decker is this year's All-Area Girls' Soccer Player of the Year. (Roger Wilson/Staff Photographer)
La Cañada High junior forward/defender Megan…

Every high school team has high hopes before the season — some realistic, some maybe not so much.

Every high school player has those hopes as well.

La Cañada High junior soccer player Megan Decker was no different and neither were her Spartans.

But Decker and her teammates had no prognostications of making school history.

“All of us definitely wanted to win league,” Decker recalls. “From the beginning of the season, we knew we were a good team, but I don’t know if we thought we were get-to-CIF good.”

But for the first time in program history, the La Cañada High girls’ soccer team was that good.

The Spartans sprinted into the postseason following an unbeaten regular season that included an impressive run to the Rio Hondo League championship. Win after dramatic win followed in a memorable postseason that culminated with La Cañada reaching its first-ever CIF Southern Section championship match.

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It was Decker who led the team offensively as a forward, and fortified the Spartans defensively, as well. Just as impactful was the passion in which she played the game, helping to solidify a team energy and chemistry that proved as important as any goal, assist or save.

“It was very contagious,” said Spartans Coach Louie Bilowitz of Decker’s enthusiasm for the game. “I don’t know if I’ve ever coached a team with better chemistry than this one. This team was like a family. They enjoyed each other so much — it was a joy to be there for me.

“I think that’s one of the reasons this team has done more than any other La Cañada team. … This was a team. And people like Megan Decker are a key reason why. She’s just wonderful.”

Whether on offense or defense, with statistics or intangibles, Decker, the Rio Hondo League Most Valuable Player and an All-CIF Southern Section Division V first-team selection, contributed in every way imaginable to lead the Spartans to success beyond their imaginations. Thus, La Cañada’s junior standout was voted the 2014 All-Area Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year by the sports staff of the La Cañada Valley Sun, Glendale News-Press and Burbank Leader.

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Indeed, the past season for Decker and the Spartans was one brimming with impressive numbers, both historical and statistical, culminating with a 22-1-1 record and a first-ever berth in the CIF Southern Section Division V championship.

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