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Baron water polo team enters new coaching era with enthusiasm, wins Phillip Brents | Fri, Oct 14 2011 03:28 AM

The Bonita Vista High School boys water polo program as entered a new era under coach Betty Alexander, and what the Barons have shown thus far is that they appear to have a solid base on which to build.

It doesn’t appear Bonita Vista will challenge for this year’s Mesa League title – that appears all but secured by the Eastlake Titans – but the future looks promising for Alexander’s enthusiastic bunch.

“The big thing we have to do is get the boys into playing year-round because playing year-round (in off-season club programs) is really the only way to become competitive with the better teams in the county,” she said.

Alexander is a BVHS alumnus, having played from 1995-99. She later played at Southwestern College.

Girls water polo became a CIF-sanctioned sport in 1997. “I started out at Bonita when water polo was still a co-ed sport,” she said.        

The Barons recorded their first league win of the 2011 season on Wednesday (Oct. 12) by defeating the Otay Ranch Mustangs, 16-8, after opening league play with setbacks to Hilltop (16-5 on Sept. 21) and Eastlake (16-0 on Sept. 23).

Bonita Vista (9-10 overall) entered Wednesday’s game with some momentum after engineering a sixth-place finish in the East County Invitational despite playing without one of the team’s top players, two-meter set Isaac Metta.

The Barons finished 2-3 in the 12-team tournament, defeating Oceanside (6-5) and Mater Dei Catholic (10-9 in a shootout) and dropping decisions to West Hills (9-1), Del Norte (12-7) and tourney-host El Capitan (12-8 in the fifth-place game).

Bonita Vista, Mater Dei Catholic and Southwest all finished 2-3 to lead the four Metro Conference teams entered in the field. Mater Dei Catholic defeated Mt. Miguel, 16-9, in the seventh-place game to go with a 13-6 round-robin win over El Cajon Valley.

Southwest Raiders defeated the Olympian Eagles (6-5) and El Cajon Valley (9-5) while the Eagles brought up the rear with a 0-5 tourney mark.

West Hills defeated High Tech High, 10-5, to finish in third place while Serra downed Del Norte, 11-4, to capture this year’s championship title.

Bonita Vista’s Devin Brocklehurst earned selection to the all-tournament team, joining El Capitan’s Cody Warford, West Hills’ Eric Osborn, High Tech's Shea Sjoberg, Serra’s David Arrota and Del Norte’s Jacob Haff. Brocklehurst scored 14 goals in the tournament.

“We did all right for ourselves, especially since we played three games in the final day, which got a little tiring,” Alexander said.

She was pleased by Wednesday’s showing as well. “We did about what we expected to do, no complaints,” she said, smiling.

Otay Ranch, which was playing in just its fourth game this season under new head coach Ryan Castro, actually took the early lead in Wednesday’s intensely competitive game on a shot by Justin Paje.

But the host team quickly found its rhythm and rattled off four unanswered goals to lead 4-1. After a goal by Otay’s David Castello cut halved the visitors’ defict, Brocklehurst scored his third goal of the quarter to give the Barons a 5-2 lead.

Metta scored twice and teammate Robert Robago scored once to put Bonita Vista ahead 8-2 early in the second quarter.

But as things turned out, it wasn’t time for the Barons to turn out the lights quite yet on the Mustangs.

Otay Ranch found its rhythm and, with riding the hot netminding of Erik Stoke, reeled off the final five goals of the second half to trail 8-7 at halftime. When Castello scored on the first shot of the third quarter, the game was suddenly tied at eight.

BV goalie Riley Mangubat rose to the occasion the rest of the game and Baron shots that had been hitting posts or narrowly missing their mark finally found the back of the net against Stoke.

Bonita Vista closed out the game with the final eight goals, including six in the third quarter to take a 14-8 edge on the scoreboard. Metta had four of his team’s final eight goals.

Mangubat finished the game with 14 saves while Stoke made 17 stops.     

Brocklehurst scored four goals, while Robago had three goals and sophomore two-meter guard Adaam Ostrowski scored twice.

Castello led the Mustangs (1-3, 0-2) with three goals while Gio Lucateroscored twice and Mack Glass and Eerwin Samosn each scored once.

Otay Ranch faced off league play with a 13-9 loss to Mater Dei Catholic on Sept. 23.

The Mustangs, who should only get better as the season goes on due to a lack of game time, defeated El Cajon Valley, 27-2, and dropped a 12-10 decision to High Tech High San Diego in a pair of early season non-league encounters.

Alexander was involved in a game of noteworthy interest earlier this season when Bonita Vista paired up with Chula Vista in a non-league contest Sept. 29 at the Parkway pool.

Alexander formerly coached the CVHS swim team in the spring. However, the noteworthiness of the match-up came in that both opposing head coaches were women, which is believed to be the first time that two have females squared off as coaching counterparts in a Metro Conference boys water polo game.

The Barons won the game, 10-5, behind three goals each by Brocklehurst and James Cevallos and two goals each from Ostrowski and Ethan Newmeyer.

Both Alexander and CVHS head coach Melissa Torres were teammates for one season at SWC.

“We were teammates, we’re friends but we weren’t rivals until today,” Alexander quipped on game day, adding, “I was happy to see some of the Chula Vista boys I coached during swim season do well.”

Abraham Luna led the Spartans with three goals.

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