2017-18 Signal Sports Awards: Newcomer of the Year

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During summer, Hart boys soccer player Lawrence Luna doesn’t complain about the time that he doesn’t get to spend on the field conditioning and perfecting his craft for the upcoming soccer season.

Working at a fast food restaurant and at Six Flags in the “Flashpass” department, the 130-pound rising junior doesn’t live on the soccer field, but rather dreams about making runs and creating havoc for opposing defenders and goalkeepers alike.

Nothing can stand in the way of his goal of playing in college and professionally, wherever that may be, as Luna is The Signal’s 2017-18 Newcomer of the Year.

“I’m pretty hyped for what I’ve worked for,” Luna said. “I just want to keep on working and hopefully I get to a higher level for soccer. I want to praise my school and my coaches for what I’ve achieved for far and I want them to know that I’m never going to give up, I’m going to keep going.”

Playing on Hart’s junior varsity team for most of his freshman year, Luna managed to make the most of his varsity debut, the first-round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 overtime playoff win against Cabrillo, Luna scored the game-winning goal and assisted on another goal pushing the Indians through to the second round.

“I was the top scorer for the junior varsity team and I finally got my chance in the first round of playoffs,” Luna said. “I scored the game-winning overtime goal and an assist to get past the first round. That’s what inspires me, to get past the first round.”

Taking that fire and experience and running with it into his sophomore year, Luna burst onto the Indians varsity squad with one goal in mind: to be the top scorer and win league again.

“For the team I want to win league and I want to win the CIF championship game. That comes first,” Luna said. “My goal is just like my first year’s, to be the top forward again.”

Luna did not disappoint and stayed true to his work.

Leading the Indians in scoring, Luna improved his goal output during his freshman season (one) by netting 15 regular-season goals in his breakout sophomore year.

“Honestly, I was just trying to get my name out there,” Luna said. “I said to myself, ‘I’m not going to be scared of bigger players,’ because at the end of the day it’s the smarter players who end up winning and shining.”

And boy, did he shine.

Giving opposing coaches and defenses nightmares throughout the 2017-18 season, Luna was potent with and without the ball at his feet creating space with his knack for getting open by making runs up the middle or through the left or right flanks, or making the extra pass or two to create something for his teammates.

“I usually focus on my shot and I listen to the advice from my coaches because those are the things that will help me throughout the game,” Luna said. “Like where to imagine that the ball will be so you know where to go on the next move or pass.”

Never content and always looking to improve, Luna has been focusing on fundamentals and his shot in order to lead the Indian’s deeper into the playoffs and past the CIF-SS Division 4 semifinals where they fell to Indian Springs.

“At first we were a bit a confident, but we realized what we needed to prove,” Luna said.

“Hard work is what it’s going to take. My next goal is to be the top scorer again and to support my team and motivate them when we are down because anything is possible. Every minute counts.”

Inside the Ballot Box

Newcomer of the Year Sport First Second Third Total
Lawrence Luna Hart soccer 15 6 0 21
Hayley Mihut Saugus softball 5 6 1 12
Nicholas Perez West Ranch baseball 0 6 1 7
Antonio Abrego Golden Valley track 0 0 1 1
Shelbi Schauble West Ranch track 0 0 1 1

Key: First place: 5 points, Second place: 3 points, Third place 1 point

Past Newcomers of the Year

2016-17 — Moises Haynes (Valencia)

2015-16 — Lauren Russ (Valencia)

2014-15 — Miles Fallin (Canyon)

2013-14 — Nikol Popov (Valencia)

2012-13 — Samantha Ortega (Saugus)

2011-12 — Abbey Weitzeil (Saugus)

2010-11 — A.J. Balta (Valencia)

2009-10 — Steven Manfro (Valencia)

2008-09 — Carly Mortensen (Valencia) & Steven Thornton (Golden Valley)

2007-08 — No award given

2006-07 — Kearsten Livingstone (Canyon) & Ryan Zirbel (Saugus)

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