The Bonita Vista High School boys lacrosse team continued its drive to snare a San Diego Section playoff berth by recording a come-from-behind 9-5 victory at Hilltop on Monday. It was the second big win in a row for the Barons, who topped the visiting Otay Ranch Mustangs, 6-5, in a Mesa League game last Thursday.
“We may not get the best seed but I think we will get in,” BVHS coach Sam Cardenas said. “We have two more games left on our schedule –- Eastlake and Olympian.”
The visitors faced some early adversity in overcoming a 2-0 Lancer lead. Hilltop still led, 3-2, at halftime before the Barons unleashed a second-half flurry of shots that added up to a 7-2 scoring edge.
Jason Bergado led Bonita Vista (3-3 in league play, 8-7 overall) in Monday’s contest with three goals while teammates Diego Cervantes and Malachi Winfield each scored twice and Thomas Sullivan and Robert Rodriguez each scored once. Dan Chief played all 48 minutes in goal, recording 10 saves to boost the winning effort for the visitors.
It’s been a long climb back to playoff contention for the BVHS program, which helped set the standard of excellence for the fledgling sport of lacrosse during the formative years of the Metro Conference.
The first season boys lacrosse was contested by South County teams, the conference included just three teams: Bonita Vista, Chula Vista and Eastlake.
Bonita Vista and Chula Vista fought for supremacy for the league title in the early years before Eastlake rose to dominance and before there was even an Otay Ranch team.
But the Barons appear to be back on the path to respectability. And that can only mean good things for the conference as a whole.
Cardenas noted the win over Otay Ranch was huge for his team.
“It was something like the first time we had beaten them in eight years,” the BVHS coach said. “The win was big for our team but especially for our seniors who had never beaten Otay Ranch during their whole playing careers.”
Sullivan notched the game-winning goal against the Mustangs while Bergado led the Barons with three goals in the game.
“It was amazing — I had never beaten them during all my time at Bonita Vista and to get that win was something indescribable,” BVHS senior defender Nate Hunt explained. “I can’t put it into words.”
Prior to defeating Otay Ranch, Bonita Vista found itself on the short end of an 8-7 triple overtime contest at second-year Olympian. Both the Barons and Eagles are vying for a berth in the Division II field and the one-up win by Olympian (10-4 overall) was crucial to the Eagles’ playoff fortunes.
“We got down early and had to fight from behind (to tie the game), which is not easy,” Cardenas said. “They were lucky enough to get that first shot off in overtime and we weren’t.”
Bonita Vista hosts Olympian Monday, May 15, to close out regular season play. The rematch between the teams should carry increased importance. The winner will almost certainly secure a post-season berth.
“Hopefully, the momentum of these two wins over Otay and Hilltop will help carry us into the playoffs knowing that we can compete against some of the better teams in the conference,” Cardenas said.
Hunt, a four-year letter-winner and team captain, was on the roster of last year’s BVHS playoff qualifier.
“That meant a lot to us making the playoffs last year and we’re trying to do it again,” he said.
Ricardo Barrios led Hilltop (0-6 in league, 5-13 overall) with two goals in Monday’s game. Jacob Moctezuma gave the Lancers a one-goal halftime lead after scoring midway through the second quarter after Bonita Vista had rallied to tie the score at 2-2. Derek McGhee and Andrew Hernandez were credited with Hilltop’s two second-half goals.
The loss was the eighth consecutive for Hilltop.
Metro Conference Standings
(Based on reported scores)
Eastlake Titans 4-0, 12-3
Otay Ranch Mustangs 4-2, 6-8
Bonita Vista Barons 3-3, 8-7
Olympian Eagles 2-3, 10-5
Hilltop Lancers 0-6, 5-13
Monday, May 5
Bonita Vista 9, Hilltop 5
Otay Ranch 9, Olympian 4
South Bay League
Montgomery Aztecs 5-1, 8-9
Chula Vista Spartans 2-3, 2-8
Mar Vista Mariners 2-3, 2-9
Southwest Raiders 0-3, 2-9
Monday, May 5
Montgomery 8, Mar Vista 3