By DAN GOLDMAN
To name the 2002 Summerville High School girls' soccer team as The Union Democrat's Sports Figure of the Year is like saying Superman is strong, or Ozzy Osbourne is a little messed up, or it gets a little wet around here during the winter.
In other words, it's a no-brainer.
After winning the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III title in girls' soccer's final season as a winter sport in 2001, the Bears didn't miss a beat as soccer turned into a spring sport in 2002.
First, the Bears stretched their legs and worked out the kinks with a 10-3-1 preseason record, including a victory over Oakdale and a tie with Sonora.
Then, in what has basically become an annual tradition, the Bears won their second straight Mother Lode League title (and fifth in seven years) with a dominating 9-1 mark.
Of course, all that was but a mere prelude to the third and most difficult leg of Summerville's season the playoffs.
In the three-game sprint to the section title, Summerville advanced to the third championship game in school history by easing past Lincoln of Placer County 1-0 in the opening round and erasing Hughson 4-2 in an "instant classic" overtime affair in the semifinals, with both games being played at Thorsted Field in Tuolumne.
In the section final against Hilmar at American River College of Sacramento, the Bears rebounded from an early 1-0 deficit to beat the Yellowjackets 2-1, claiming not only their second consecutive section championship, but also 25th Sports Figure of the Year honor.
"It was a great year," said Summerville coach Jim Frazier, who joined boys' cross country coach Wayne DeGennaro as the only Summerville coaches to win back-to-back section titles. "We had some key positions to fill, as we do every year, but I think having won in 2001 really helped. And, like in every other sport, staying healthy was a big key."