Sat, Apr 23 2011 12:03 AM Posted By: Phillip Brents
It’s been a while in the making but there just is something magical about whenever the Eastlake and Otay Ranch boys lacrosse teams match up. The games only seem to get better.
Such was the case Monday (April 11) as the Eastlake Titans hosted the Otay Ranch Mustangs in a heated battle for the top rung in the Metro Conference standings. The Mustangs held a one-game lead on the Titans following their dramatic overtime victory over visiting Eastlake in March.
Now make that a two-game lead after Otay Ranch’s Alex Soto broke a 10-10 standoff to score the game-winning goal with only 11 seconds left in regulation play.
These teams do have a flair for the dramatic — and spine-tingling finishes.
“Since 2009, it’s been a great rivalry,” Otay Ranch head coach Doug Murphy said. “Up until 2007, Eastlake dominated. Then in 2008, Otay Ranch dominated. But since then, every time it’s been an almost overtime type of game.”
Murphy should know something about the teams’ rivalry. He coached Eastlake from 2003-2008.
The Mustangs (7-0 in league play, 8-4 overall) muscled their way to leads of 4-1 and 5-2 but one got the impression the lead was never that comfortable.
Seemingly out of nowhere, the Titans (5-2, 8-3) elevated their game to the next level. Zach Bannon’s goal with 3:25 left in the half brought the score to 5-4. After that, it was a mad scramble.
Roby Sills put Otay Ranch up 6-4 on the first goal of the second half. But Eastlake responded with three unanswered goals to take a 7-6 lead.
Franz Hahn knotted the score at 7-7 entering the fourth quarter.
There would be seven more goals scored before the final horn sounded.
The Mustangs went ahead 9-7 on two more unanswered goals. But that only seemed to ignite the hosts. Bannon and teammate Casey Stanko both followed with goals to tie the teams at nine goals apiece.
Bannon’s goal came with 3:03 — just 22 seconds after Otay Ranch had taken the 9-7 lead — while Stanko scored with 1:48 to play in regulation.
The teams weren’t finished with the heart-pound action.
The Mustangs’ Austin Kernes walked right through the Eastlake defense to score just 25 seconds after Stanko’s goal, putting the visitors ahead 10-9.
Bannon then took matters into his own hands with a wicked drive from the outside that beat Mustang netminder Patrick Flinn with exactly one minute left in the game.
“Three goals inside a minute,” Eastlake coach Nestor Rosas said, shaking his head in disbelief.
Make that four goals inside 1:48, counting Soto’s game-winner.
“No matter how far we got ahead, they kept chipping away and coming back,” Murphy said, also shaking his head.
Simply put, great game.
Hahn led Otay Ranch with three goals and two assists while Sills had two goals and one assist. Kernes and Kris Holland both scored twice while A.J. Fialkowski matched Soto with one goal.
Flinn was credited with six saves.
Stanko, Bannon and Christian Ballow each scored three goals for Eastlake while goalie Joseph Leonor was credited with 15 saves.
Rosas noted that his team was handicapped somewhat on defense by ill-timed spring break vacations.
“We knew going into the game that we would be without two of our starting defensemen,” the EHS coach said. “Considering that we were playing with only one-third of our starting defense, I thought we played very well.”
Murphy also noted his team was not at full strength despite the heroic showcase. “We’re a MASH unit right now,” he said.
The Mustangs have six starters currently injured, with two lost for the season. “We’ve had to go to some of our younger guys, who have really stepped up,” the ORHS coach said.
Bottom line: Respect might not be forthcoming from the rest of the county but be assured both the Mustang and Titan squads respect one another.
Boys Lacrosse Scoreboard
Metro Conference Standings
(Through April 11)
Otay Ranch 7-0 ,8-4
Eastlake 5-2, 8-3
Hilltop 5-2, 5-5
Mar Vista 4-3, 6-3
Bonita Vista 2-4,2-9
Chula Vista 1-6, 1-10
Montgomery 0-7, 0-10
Monday, April 11
Otay Ranch 11, Eastlake 10
Mar Vista 13, Montgomery 4
Hilltop 13, Chula Vista 1
Saturday, April 9
La Jolla Country Day 7, Otay Ranch 5
Friday, April 8
Mar Vista 6, Point Loma 5
Thursday, April 7
Otay Ranch 27, Montgomery 1
Mar Vista 8, Bonita Vista 7
Eastlake 9, Hilltop 4
Wednesday, April 6
Grossmont 12, Otay Ranch 4
Monday, April 4
Hilltop 12, Montgomery 2
Eastlake 15, Chula Vista 0
Otay Ranch 17, Bonita Vista 0
Friday, April 1
Mar Vista 9, Lincoln 4
Thursday, March 31
Otay Ranch 10, Hilltop 2
Mar Vista 12, Chula Vista 0
Eastlake 13, Bonita Vista 1
Monday, March 28
Hilltop 8, Bonita Vista 7
Chula Vista 7, Montgomery 4
Wheat Ridge (Colo.) 8, Otay Ranch 1
Saturday, March 26
Helix 14, Bonita Vista 0
Otay Ranch 14, El Capitan 7
Thursday, March 24
Eastlake 10, Mar Vista 5
Bonita Vista 19, Montgomery 1
Otay Ranch 20, Chula Vista 1
Tuesday, March 22
Granite Hills 8, Otay Ranch 7
Monday, March 21
Eastlake 19, Montgomery 3
Hilltop 6, Mar Vista 5
Bonita Vista 13, Chula Vista 1
Saturday, March 19
Preuss 17, Montgomery 0
Francis Parker 10, Bonita Vista 4
Friday, March 18
Otay Ranch 9, Eastlake 8 (OT)
Monte Vista 8, Hilltop 7
Thursday, March 17
Hilltop 10, Chula Vista 1
Mar Vista 16, Montgomery 1
Granite Hills 14, Bonita Vista 1
Wednesday, March 16
St. Augustine 14, Chula Vista 1
Tuesday, March 15
Eastlake 14, Valhalla 5
Preuss 17, Hilltop 6
Foothills Christian 12, Chula Vista 6
Monday, March 14
Otay Ranch 21, Mar Vista 1
Monte Vista 11, Bonita Vista 8
Saturday, March 12
Valhalla 8, Bonita Vista 7
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