Tue, Feb 21 2012 12:46 AM Posted By: Phillip Brents
The Southwest High School boys soccer team will represent the South Bay League in the upcoming San Diego Section Division III playoffs after securing the rights to this year’s league title with a 2-1 victory at Chula Vista High School on Tuesday (Feb. 14).
The Raiders advanced their league record to 9-2-0, 13-3-2 overall, with one match left in regular season play.
“This was a must-win for them,” Southwest coach Memo Medina said following Tuesday’s match. “They (the host Spartans) needed to beat us and then hope we lost our last game of the season against Mar Vista.”
Chula Vista finished the regular season 7-3-2 in league play, 14-8-3 overall. A win Tuesday would have pushed the Spartans ahead of the Raiders into first place, but Southwest would still have had an advantage with one game in hand.
Chula Vista had its season turn in two previous matches — both ties — against Montgomery and Sweetwater. The Spartans battled to a 1-1 standoff against the visiting Aztecs on Feb. 8 and fought to a scoreless draw last Friday at Sweetwater.
“I knew the key game would be the one at Sweetwater because of the field they have there,” CVHS coach Ruben Oliveira said.
The league championship was the third consecutive for Southwest, which rallied from a 2-2 start in South Bay League play with seven consecutive victories.
Medina said continuity within the program has been its hallmark for success.
“Most of these kids came from Southwest Middle School, where I also have coached, so a lot of these kids have been in the same system for six years and know what my expectations are,” Medina said.
Francisco Ramirez scored the Raiders’ opening goal on Tuesday, assisted by Carlos Ramirez, while Marco Burgueño tallied for Chula Vista.
The decisive goal came midway through the second half off a cornerkick that deflected off a Spartan player for an own goal.
Medina said his team is looking forward to postseason competition.
“This is a team that has had two CIF runner-up patches in the past five years and we want to put a CIF championship banner on our wall,” Medina said. “It looks promising.”
Mesa League elite
The Hilltop Lancers captured their second consecutive Mesa League boys championship by defeating host Mater Dei Catholic, 2-0, on Tuesday. The win raised Hilltop’s league record to 7-1-1.
Senior Christian Vera scored the game-winning goal, teammate Abdiel Flores scored once and goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas recorded the shutout victory by making 15 saves.
Hilltop coach John Salts said Vera’s banner-clinching goal added extra emotion to the game’s outcome. “This is especially sweet because Christian missed the last PK in overtime last year at the CIF finals against Bonita — this was sweet redemption for him and well deserved for a great individual.”
The Lancers (17-3-2) will represent the Mesa League in the upcoming San Diego Section Division II playoffs (Feb. 21 to March 3).
In the girls Mesa League championship race, front-runner Eastlake (7-0-2 in league, 12-3-3 overall) clinched a playoff berth after playing to a 1-1 standoff against visiting Bonita Vista (6-2-1, 17-4-3) on Tuesday.
Brenna Bailey (Eastlake) and Kassy Castillo (Bonita Vista) each scored goals in the high profile game. Castillo leads the Barons in scoring with 15 goals and six assists.
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