Mon, Mar 10 2014 10:48 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
The Southwest Raiders, Chula Vista High Tech Bruins and San Ysidro Cougars soccer teams have collectively given the Metro Conference a kick, so to speak, in winning San Diego Section division titles last weekend.
The second-seeded Raiders came home with the prestigious Division I championship trophy after riding sophomore Gabriel Alamillo’s golden goal to a 2-1 triumph over ninth-seeded San Dieguito Academy.
Meanwhile, a pair of underdog teams raised the bar high in their respective competition divisions: the 12th-seeded Bruins rode the standout goalkeeping of Sierra Sanchez to upset second-seeded Helix in a 3-1 kicks-from-the-mark tie-breaker to claim the Division III girls title; while the fourth-seeded Cougars rode a pair of goals from Raad Aljabi in to give third-seeded Hoover the boot, 2-1, in the Division IV boys final.
A total of nine South County teams advanced to the section semifinals, with three punching tickets to last weekend’s division finals. All three finalists emerged with victories on Saturday to make a statement for the level of the game as played south of Interstate 8.
“Through my 26 years in education, this win has to be one the highlights of my career,” Southwest principal Lee Romero said. “Not only am I excited and proud for our players, but this win means so much to our Southwest High School community.
“We love our students, we love our community and we love our futbol. To win the way we did in overtime was incredibly exciting.”
Both Southwest and Chula Vista High Tech received berths in this week’s Southern California regional championship tournament.
The fourth-seeded Raiders (18-2-4) are scheduled to host fifth-seeded Baldwin Park (21-4-1) in a Division II quarterfinal match Tuesday at San Ysidro High School.
The eight-seeded Bruins (17-4-3) are schedule to play at top-seeded Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) in Monday’s Division III quarterfinals.
Girls semifinal matches are Wednesday while boys semifinal matches are Thursday, both at the higher-seeded team and also starting at 4 p.m.
The Division III girls final is Friday, March 14, at Warren High School in Downey. Kick-off is scheduled for 5 p.m.
The Division II boys final is Saturday, March 15, at Warren High School in Downey. Kick-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Los Angeles Cathedral (26-1-1) is the top-seeded team in the eight-team Division II boys bracket.
The CIF title was the first for the Raiders since 2003 but not for lack of trying. Southwest had advanced numerous times to either the quarterfinals, semifinals of finals, as in 2008 and 2009, before encountering a roadblock to victory.
But not this time, not even facing overtime.
Southwest, the 2013-14 Metro-South Bay League champion, took a 1-0 lead in Saturday’s division final at Mesa College on a goal by Alfredo Adame in the 58th minute. But the Mustangs, riding a string of three upset wins in the previous rounds, including an overtime defeat of top-seeded St. Augustine in the quarterfinals, would not go quietly.
San Dieguito Academy (9-8-5) notched the equalizer on a free kick by Tristan Norton with four minutes to play in regulation, thus sending the game into extra time.
The Raiders, however, quickly regained the momentum they had lost at the tail end of regulation play and ended matters on Alamillo’s tally with four minutes elapsed in the golden-goal period.
Goalkeeper Juan Barrera was credited with five saves in picking up the win.
Mis-seeding or simply an act of parity playing out on the pitch? Chula Vista High Tech’s never-say-die kickers will take it either way in charting their spirited odyssey through the thick of the divisional playoffs. The Bruins, seeded last in the division, upended the fourth higher-seeded team paired against them in the elimination bracket to stand alone on the sun-drenched field Saturday at Mesa College.
Stand alone with the prized championship trophy.
CV High Tech’s playoff run was ground-breaking for the school’s girls soccer program, which had never won a playoff match until this year. But the Bruins (17-3-6) served notice they were destined to make history after recording a 9-0 showing in Frontier League play and then sending home, in order, fifth-seeded Valley Center, fourth-seeded Central Union and top-seeded Escondido Charter to reach last weekend’s CIF final.
The CV High Tech defense allowed just one goal in four playoff matches en route to winning the school’s first section title in the sport. The Bruins blanked Valley Center, 4-0, edged Central Union, 2-1, and shut out Escondido Charter 1-0.
No goals were scored in Saturday’s division final, either in regulation or overtime, though the Bruins nearly put one in midway through the second half of regulation when Alexie Gates’ shot caromed off the crossbar.
Sanchez was credited with five saves in regulation and OT against the Highlanders (8-9-6). She stopped the final shot in the KFM tie-breaker while teammate Jessica Castro scored on the Frontier League champs’ fourth attempt to give the Chula Vista team a winning two-goal edge.
The Cougars also played the role of spoiler in their drive to the CIF title after eliminating both top-seeded Monte Vista (1-0 in the semifinals) and the third-seeded Cardinals in the championship round.
San Ysidro (11-8-2) made the most of its opportunities in the final, taking a 2-0 lead on a head shot by Aljabi in the 20th minute and a curling shot to the far post just before intermission.
Hoover (11-10-1) scored almost immediately after Aljabi’s second goal but could not take advantage of any of its scoring chances in the second half. Luis Aparicio was credited with the Cardinal’s lone goal in the match.
The Cougars’ soccer championship builds on the successful playoff run posted by the school’s baseball team in winning last spring’s Division III title.
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