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Barons girls soccer tournament kicks off Phillip Brents | Fri, Dec 17 2010 12:44 AM

Ron Pietila retired last season from a legendary coaching career that included more than 500 victories at Southwest, Bonita Vista and Olympian high schools. His teams set the standard for others to follow at each South Bay school. The Sweetwater High School grad left behind many memories, but he’s not quite finished yet.

Pietila, as one of the region’s pioneering coaches, remains the director of the Barons Girls High School Soccer Tournament that he founded to promote the game not only in the South County but throughout the San Diego Section. The tourney, now in its 31st year, kicked off play last Friday and will conclude with semifinal playoffs and championship matches on Saturday.

When asked to enumerate what he feels rank as his biggest contributions to girls soccer, he cited establishing the Barons tournament as No. 1.

“Watching it grow from four to 104 teams has allowed large numbers of girls to participate in a widely acknowledged event,” he said.

His lists his service to the San Diego Section as its playoff soccer director as his second most important contribution. He was recently named to the National Federation of State High School Associations’ soccer rules committee for boys and girls, a four-year appointment.

His presence, or if one prefers to call it mystique, remains huge in the South Bay.

“I have received recent e-mails stating it was ‘strange’ not seeing me at a Metro Conference soccer coaches meeting, and how my presence was somehow ‘reassuring’ all those years,” Pietila said. “Maybe that was the key — providing a familiar face.”

This year’s tournament features eight divisions — four each in varsity and junior varsity, 50 varsity teams and 54 JV-freshman teams.

Saturday’s playoff rounds are scheduled at Bonita Vista, Hilltop and Olympian, with semifinal games at 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and noon.

The Classic and Limited division varsity finals are scheduled at noon at Bonita Vista, followed by the Premier varsity division final at 2 p.m. Hilltop will host the JV-Frosh Classified final at noon, followed by the Unlimited varsity and JV-Frosh division championship games at 2 p.m.

Olympian will host the JV-Frosh Limited Division final at 2 p.m. and the JV-Frosh Premier final at 3 p.m.

Hilltop is the defending Unlimited Division varsity champion. The Lancers pulled off three upset victories in last year’s playoffs to wear the crown as Nicole Wolfe was accorded MVP honors. Also earning selection to the 2009 all-tournament team for Hilltop were Marisa Espino, Samantha Martinez and Memery Dewberry.

All return this season.

The Lancers kick-started tourney play last Saturday with a 3-0 win against El Capitan as three different Lancers each scored goals: Jessica Carrillo, Evelyn Navarro and Bianca Mora. Hannah Teage was credited with the shutout.

Hilltop recorded a 3-3 draw against Mira Mesa in its next tournament match, with a final pool game against Helix on Thursday determining whether the Lancers advance to this weekend’s playoff rounds.

Sweetwater became the first team to officially sew up a berth in Saturday’s Classic semifinals on the strength of three consecutive pool victories: 4-0 over Central Union, 2-1 over Chula Vista High Tech and 2-1 over Mt. Miguel.

Prisma Mendoza, Alma Cruz, Lili Parra and Tamara Rojas each scored goals against Central Union, with Beatriz Mateo recording the shutout. Rojas and Nicki Cerillo, who had two assists against the El Centro team, each scored goals in Monday’s victory over CV High Tech. Mateo had five saves in picking up the win.

Bonita Vista and Eastlake are both competing in the Premier Division. Eastlake kicked off play with 2-0 victories against West Hills and Valhalla while Bonita Vista topped Grossmont, 2-0, and tied Rancho Bernardo 2-2.

Thursday’s pool finales pitted Bonita Vista against Patrick Henry and Eastlake at Poway, with the outcome of both matches determining which teams advance to Saturday’s semifinals.

Eastlake’s Sarah Sedillo scored both goals in the win over West Hills while teammate Dani Sullivan had both goals in the victory against Valhalla. Jojo McCaskil received credit for both shutout wins.

The Titans qualified for last year’s Premier playoffs.

Mar Vista, another playoff qualifier in 2009 (in the Classic Division), opened this year’s tournament with draws against Calexico (2-2) and Horizon Christian (0-0).

Corner kicks

Ryan Marquez, who becomes the first non-Pietila to lead the Barons program in a quarter century, won his first match as Bonita Vista head coach, 1-0, over Helix. Ron’s daughter Ronne Pietila-Wiggs also coached at BVHS between her father’s two stints there.

For more information on the Barons tournament, visit the Web site at http://web.me.com/rkpietila/Site/Barons_Tournament_Homepage.html.

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