The Bonita Vista and Montgomery high school boys soccer teams have built up some recent history between them.
Montgomery defeated Bonita Vista, 4-3, two years ago to win the San Diego Section Division IV championship.
Bonita Vista eliminated Montgomery in the quarterfinals of last year’s CIF playoffs.
This season, the teams find themselves placed together in the revamped South Bay League. They played to a 1-1 draw in their first league encounter on Jan. 10; Bonita Vista claimed a hard-fought 1-0 victory on Feb. 2 to solidify its first-place position in the league standings.
Both coaches agreed a rivalry is building between the teams on opposite sides of South County.
“They beat us two years ago in the CIF final and we beat them last year in the quarterfinals to get to the semifinals, now it’s league,” BVHS coach Tracy Powell explained. “This is a rivalry. Their coach has done a great job with their boys to understand his system. He’s a competitive and passionate coach. That’s how I am.”
Aztec coach Gaston Vazquez concurred with Powell’s sentiments.
“We won CIF and they eliminated us the next year,” the Montgomery coach noted. “This year we tied one and they beat us. This was a big win for them in terms of the power rankings.”
The teams’ most recent match-up took on two distinct personalities. Montgomery seemed to own most of the territorial possession and the best scoring chances in the first half; it was reversed in the second half.
BV goalkeeper Bryan Durazo pushed a hard shot over the crossbar to keep the game scoreless in the first half.
Aztec netminder Dennis Rabadan had to make two flying saves across his goalmouth in the second half to prevent the game from becoming out of reach for the visitors.
Sergio Velazquez scored the game’s lone goal with about 14 minutes to play when he drove an arcing chip shot over the Montgomery goalkeeper’s reach.
Both coaches admitted that power rankings points are not exactly kind to teams in the South Bay League. A tie would have been just as advantageous for the Barons.
“It doesn’t benefit Division I and Division II teams (that play Division III, Division IV or Division V teams),” Powell said. “But there’s nothing wrong with the league. It’s still South Bay teams. It’s competitive.
“With Montgomery being a Division II team, we picked up more points than we would have by beating a lower division team.”
The South Bay League is comprised of one Division II team (Montgomery), three Division III teams (Bonita Vista, Castle Park and Olympian), one Division IV team (Sweetwater) and one Division V team (Mar Vista).
Powell said his team, now 5-0-1 in league play, 8-3-4 overall, following Tuesday’s 2-0 victory at Mar Vista, cannot afford to have any let-downs the rest of the season if it is to secure a league championship and maintain its top three power ranking for the upcoming division playoffs.
“It takes focus to stay on top,” Powell explained. “We have some competitive teams coming up that will give us a run for our money. We need to win a couple at home and pull off a tie on the road.”
With each win worth three points in the standings and each tie worth one point, the emphasis for all teams at this point of the season is winning regardless of how many power rankings points they make pick up.
The Barons lead the South Bay League standings with 16 points — but it’s not a runaway lead yet.
Castle Park (5-6-4) currently sits second in the league standings with a 3-2-2 league record and 11 standings points following Tuesday’s 3-0 victory against visiting Sweetwater.
Emilio Luna, Ivan Garduno and Mauro Estolano each scored goals for the Trojans, who received shutout goalkeeping from Sebastian Zertuche (six saves).
Montgomery’s record improved to 3-3-2 in league play, 10-3-3 overall, following Tuesday’s clutch 3-2 win over visiting Olympian.
The Aztecs also have 11 standings points.
The Otay Mesa team entered league play with seven non-league wins, the most among any of the South Bay League teams. However, the Aztecs have found the going tough through the first round of league play.
“Unfortunately, we have three or four of our starting players injured right now,” Vazquez said.
Olympian dropped to 2-3-2 in league play, 7-7-3 overall, after Tuesday’s loss. The Eagles have eight standings points.
Freshman David Kay scored his team-leading eighth goal for Olympian in Tuesday’s setback to Montgomery.
Sweetwater (2-3-1 in league, 8-10-2 overall) has seven points in the league standings while Mar Vista (0-5-2 in league, 6-6-2 overall) has two points in the league standings.
Bonita Vista is second in the Division III power rankings while Olympian is eighth and Castle Park is 11th.
Montgomery is fifth in the Division II power rankings while Otay Ranch (4-3-2 in Mesa League, 5-8-4 overall) is eighth, San Ysidro (4-4-0 in Mesa League, 7-8-2 overall) is 10th, Eastlake (5-3-1 in Mesa League, 9-7-2 overall) is 12th, Hilltop (2-5-2 in Mesa League, 5-7-5 overall) is 16th and Mater Dei Catholic (2-7-1 in Mesa League, 4-13-3 overall) is 19th among the 20 teams in the division.
Southwest (7-0-3 in Mesa League play, 10-4-5 overall) is 15th in the Division I power rankings while Sweetwater is 11th in the Division IV power rankings. Mar Vista is fifth in the Division V power rankings.
“I don’t know if we can get second or first for seeding in the playoffs, but I would expect us to end up somewhere in the top three in our division,” Powell said.
The section playoffs kick off with the play-in round on Feb. 20. Championship games will take place March 3-4 at Mesa College (Open Division, Division I and Division III) and Mission Bay High School (Division II, Division IV and Division V).
Girls Soccer Standings
(Through Feb. 7)
Eastlake 7-1-1, 12-5-2
Bonita Vista 4-2-4, 5-77
Chula Vista 5-4-0, 7-9-2
Otay Ranch 4-42, 10-7-2
Olympian 3-4-3, 3-12-5
Hilltop 2-5-3, 3-11-5
Southwest 2-7-0, 8-8-2
South Bay League
Mar Vista 6-0-1, 16-3-3
Montgomery 4-0-2, 14-0-6
Castle Park 4-3-1, 6-10-1
Mater Dei Catholic 2-2-1, 5-7-5
San Ysidro 0-6-1, 3-11-1
Sweetwater 0-6-1, 3-10-3