Fri, Nov 30 2012 02:40 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
Southwest High School roller hockey coach Jerry Nestlerode could not attend the Raiders’ season opening game Wednesday at Castle Park High School but his team delivered a spiritual message to him half a continent away: a 12-2 South Bay League victory against the Chula Vista Spartans.
“This win wasn’t so much for our team but for our coach,” said Angel Rocha, who starred on the court with eight goals and one assist.
Nestlerode, the 2011-12 CIF-Metro Conference Coach of the Year, was in Kansas City to attend to an illness in his family.
He was unable to witness firsthand Southwest’s opening victory of the 2012-13 campaign, the CIF-Metro Conference’s 13th overall and the first for the Raiders in defense of their South Bay League championship.
Jorge Guillen opened scoring for Southwest and Rocha followed with six goals of his own to build what proved to be an insurmountable 7-0 lead.
The Raiders led 10-1 when Chula Vista scored its second goal.
Four players return from Southwest’s history-making league championship team of a season ago: Guillen, Rocha, Henry Avalos and goaltender Jose Andrade.
Rocha tallied 36 goals and 44 points in 2011-12.
The Raiders participated in their first playoff game last season, dropping a 5-2 decision to La Jolla Country Day in the opening round of the Kiwanis/Don Cerone Memorial Cup championships.
Southwest finished 17-4 overall — the team’s best-ever finish.
“We’re looking for it to be a challenging season but we’re going to give it our best to defend our title,” Rocha said.
Guillen scored twice for the Raiders, who also received a goal and two assists from Avalos, one goal from Luis Gomez and a pair of assists from Miguel Gonzalez.
Alex Wallace and Carolyn Talavera each scored once for Chula Vista.
The eight goals by Rocha were a single-season high through the opening nine games of the new season.
The 2012-13 campaign officially faced off Monday with three games at the Escondido Sports Center.
Defending Kiwanis Cup champion Poway shaded Scripps Ranch, 7-5, while Del Norte delivered the first upset of the season by derailing Westview, 6-5, in overtime. Rancho Bernardo, this season’s preseason pick to advance to the championship finals, easily handled St. Augustine by a 6-1 score.
The Southwest-Chula Vista game was the second match in Wednesday’s double-header at CPHS.
The host Trojans became the first South County team to pick up a win by rolling past the Mar Vista Mariners, 5-4, in dramatic come-from-behind fashion.
Mar Vista appeared to be cruising with a 4-1 lead, but Castle Park’s Juan Luna reeled off four unanswered goals to put his team in the lead.
Luna, who passed for 843 yards and 10 touchdowns as the Trojan quarterback during the football season, had a hand in all five of his team’s goals on Wednesday. He assisted on Horacio Mireles’ tally in the second period to halve an early 2-0 lead by the Mariners.
Jacob David scored the first goal of the game. Andrew Medlock tallied twice for Mar Vista, which also received a goal from Billy Warren in the loss.
“Castle Park did very well,” Medlock assessed. “We had some weaknesses and they capitalized on them. We started off great but we couldn’t close.”
First-year Trojan goalie Michael Frank likely had something to do with that by virtue of his strong play in the latter half of the game. “I wasn’t doing well at first but my teammates started helping me out, and I knew I couldn’t let them down,” Frank said. “I started trying harder.”
The Mariners’ best chance to tie the game and send it to overtime came with 46 seconds to play in regulation when Medlock skated in on a breakaway. But Frank stuffed Medlock’s shot.
“It was surprising,” Frank admitted afterward. “At first I didn’t think I made it but then I looked down and the puck was in my glove.”
•Del Norte’s Troy Grahl scored the first regulation goal and the first overtime goal of the 2012-13 season while Poway’s Eric Wright had the season’s initial break-out game with two goals and five assists.
•Rancho Bernardo became the first team to roll up two wins after the Broncos shaded defending conference champion Poway, 8-6, in a game played Wednesday evening in Escondido. Spencer Ridout and Geoff Sagara led RB with two goals and one assist each while Nick Wagner scored twice.
•Hilltop returns to defend its Mesa League championship while West Hills returns to defend its Central League title.
•Poway rolled to a near-perfect 22-1 finish last season. The heralded 2003 Scripps Ranch team remains the only team in conference history to post an undefeated championship season after going 22-0.
Conference scoring leaders (Through Nov. 28)
•Eric Wright (Poway) 6 goals, 5 assists, 11 points
•Decker Seilhan (Westview) 4 goals, 7 assists, 11 points
•Angel Rocha (Southwest) 8 goals, 1 assist, 9 points
•Griffin Dibble (Westview) 5 goals, 4 assists, 9 points
•Matt Schrag (Del Norte) 6 goals, 2 assists, 8 points
•Troy Grahl (Del Norte) 5 goals, 3 assists, 8 points
Eastlake Titans looking forward to the future
Aaron Mayer, the Titans' pint-size terror on the rink, collected a goal and four assists before he had to leave Thursday's game after the second period to tend to other commitments. Mayer was the teams's freshman scoring sensation last season with 19 goals and nine assists. He was the leader of three frosh standouts. Fellow classmates Mick Mechling ranked second in team scoring in 2011-12 with 15 goals and seven assists while Sam Bawden was third with 10 goals and 11 assists.
All three are back in 2012-13 … and for what appears to be an even brighter future in seasons to come, noted second-year EHS coach Ron Cole.
"We want to advance as far as we can and continue our learning curve," Cole said. "We're looking forward to the next three years."
The youth-laden Titans finished 6-14 last season, 4-5 in Mesa League play. Eastlake evened its 2012-13 season record at 1-1 following Thursday's 9-1 non-league triumph against the Sweetwater Red Devils.
Mechling finished the game with three goals and one assist while goals were also credited to Zach Landry, Nick Ziccardi, Jacky Ponce, Will Winters and Nick Rodriguez. Zane White was also credited with one assist.
Ricky Lawson scored Sweetwater's lone goal -- and the Red Devils' first of the season.
Mustangs edge Raiders, 3-1, in showcase match-up
The defending South Bay League champion Southwest Raiders proved they are indeed for real after dropping a tight 3-1 non-league decision against the high-powered Otay Ranch Mustangs. The game — easily the best played so far in four games played at the Castle Park High School rink — pitted Otay's potent offense against the Raiders' tenacious defense.
The Mustangs held a narrow 1-0 lead until deep in the game. Otay got some breathing room with two late goals to go up 3-0 but Southwest scored some well-deserved prestige points on a penalty shot goal by Jorge Guillen.
Otay Ranch racked up a 39-11 edge in shots. Raider netminder Jose Andrade notched 36 saves in the loss.
Devyn Taras paced the Mustangs with two goals; team captain Matt Mendez scored Otay's opening goal of the game.
The Mustangs held a 1-0 lead until Taras scored his first goal of the night with just 1:05 remaining in the second period. Taras added an insurance tally with 6:20 to play in the third period to show how tight the game actually was.
Southwest was awarded a penalty shot with 3:37 left in the game when an Otay player gloved the puck inside the goalie crease. Guillen, a left-handed shooter, took the puck deep to the line before shooting into the far corner of the net.
The Raiders were unlucky not to have scored earlier as team scoring leader Angel Rocha twice bounced shots off the crossbar.
The Mustang offense looked impressive throughout the game, though head coach Adrian Rodriguez noted his team still needed more work. "We can get better," he said.
Despite the loss, the Raiders look to continue a strong season. "We're not stopping here," Rocha said.
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