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Boys soccer preview: South County kickers piling up victories Phillip Brents | Fri, Jan 14 2011 03:48 PM

The wins keep piling up for the South County’s complement of boys high school soccer teams, and so has the recognition.

Hilltop reached the finals of two tournaments over the holiday break, placing runner-up in the Coronado Islander Classic and then recording five consecutive shutout victories to claim the Classified Division championship in the Grossmont Holiday Tournament.

The Lancers improved to 12-2 with their 1-0 win over Ramona in the finals of the East County tournament. Both losses by Hilltop this season have been to Poway, including a 1-0 setback in a championship-round pairing in the Coronado tournament.

“The impressive point was a total shutout of all opposing teams,” HHS coach John Salts said in reference to the team’s play in the recent Grossmont tourney.

The Lancers topped, in order, Steele Canyon (4-0), San Dieguito Academy (1-0), West Hills (3-0), El Cajon Valley (1-0) and, in the finals, the Bulldogs.

Hilltop also has recorded lopsided non-league wins against River Valley Charter (10-0), Helix (6-1) and Morse (4-0). The Lancers made an early statement with key victories against section powers San Diego (4-0), Hoover (5-2), Rancho Bernardo (1-0) and Southwest (2-1) in the opening four games of the Islander tournament.

Hilltop ended the 2010 portion of its schedule ranked 30th in the nation in ESPN’s Fab 50 national prep poll and second in San Diego County.

The Lancers kick off Mesa League play Jan. 18 at Otay Ranch and appear loaded for bear after racking up a stupefying 44-9 goal-differential in their opening 14 games.

Roberto Diaz leads Hilltop in scoring with seven goals and seven assists. He is followed on the score sheet by Joshua Diaz with eight goals and three assists, Diego Valverde with eight goals and two assists and Jimmy Estrada with two goals and 11 assists.

Adrian Zendejas, who has seen the bulk of time in the net, owns a cool 0.76 goals-against average.

Mesa League preview
Hilltop isn’t the only South County side enjoying early season success.

Bonita Vista defeated longtime East County power Valhalla, 3-2, to claim the Premier Division championship in the Grossmont tourney. It was the Barons’ third meeting against the Norsemen this season after the Jamul kickers had previously recorded a pair of 1-0 victories.

The Barons improved to 9-3-1 on the season following Wednesday’s 4-2 non-league victory against University City. That win came on the heels of last Friday’s 4-3 non-league win against El Cajon Valley.

Chula Vista improved to 7-4-2 following its 2-0 non-league victory over Grossmont on Jan. 5. The Spartans also showed well over the winter break by placing runner-up to Poway in the annual San Diego Holiday Classic.

Bonita Vista kicks off league play with a key encounter at Chula Vista on Jan. 18.

Eastlake is 3-3-2 with a lot of promise, according to head coach Martin Casas. The Titans tied Poway and own narrow one-goal losses to Southwest (1-0 in the Coronado tournament), Rancho Bernardo  (2-1 in non-league play) and Mt. Carmel (1-0 in non-league play).

Eastlake kicked off the Coronado tournament with a 4-2 victory against Canyon Crest Academy and also defeated a tough Carlsbad team, 1-0, in a subsequent non-league game. The Titans also defeated Sweetwater and tied Mar Vista in other non-league encounters.

The team is anchored by the play of Christian Mederos, Marcelo Urrutia, Alexis Prado, Hector Rivera, Roberto Camacho and Alex Guillen-Torres.

Leonardo Villalobos leads the team with three goals and Urrutia and Mederos each have scored two goals.

Overall, the Titans had scored 11 goals in their first eight games. Eastlake kicks off Mesa League play Jan. 18 at Mater Dei Catholic.

“We are excited because we feel like we are going into league with a lot of momentum,” Casas said. “The team has been in every game , has controlled possession and had more shots on goal in every match, including the Rancho Bernado, Southwest and Poway matches.”

Casas pointed to the play of Urrutia, in particular, for his team’s strong start to the season despite facing a challenging schedule.

 “His leadership and creativity have been pivotal to our outstanding start,” the EHS coach said. “In addition to displaying his skills on the soccer field, Marcelo flexes his intellectual muscle in the classroom. He is a humble, respectful and talented young man who recently has been offered a full-ride to Loyola Marymount University to play soccer and not football. As his club coach, high school coach and classroom teacher, I could not be any more proud.”

Mater Dei Catholic entered the week sporting a 1-3 record while Otay Ranch was 1-3-1.

South Bay League preview

League play kicked off last week, with defending San Diego Section Division III champion Castle Park tasting a pair of wins (4-3 over Southwest and 2-1 over Olympian) to take the early edge. The Trojans saw their season-opening 11-game unbeaten streak end, however, with last Friday’s 1-0 non-league loss to Coronado.

Castle Park had opened the season with an imposing 10-0-1 start. 

Alfredo Rodriguez has kicked off the season in high gear with eight goals and one assist. Teammates Felipe Liborio (four goals), Victor Perez (three goals) and Ivban Cabrales (three goals) have also contributed to the team’s success.

Southwest is 2-1 in South Bay League play, 7-4-1 overall. The Raiders’ top three scorers include Victor Andrade (six goals, four assists), Jaime Verdin (three goals, six assists) and Eric Rodriguez (five goals, one assist).

Four other teams kicked off league play with 1-1 records: Sweetwater (6-5-2), Mar Vista (3-5-2), Montgomery (4-7-3) and Olympian (1-1). San Ysidro (3-6 overall) was the lone winless team in league play with a pair of losses.

Sweetwater captured the Premier Division title at the high powered SoCal Classic tournament, going 4-1 in five games. The Red Devils edged El Capitan, 2-1, in the semifinals on goals by Oscar Carames and Yonic Rumbo and topped Mission Hills, 3-1, in the championship game on goals by Martin Pino, Rumbo and Joseph Arias.

Arias leads SuHi in scoring with six goals while Rumbo has contributed four goals and one assist and Pino has scored three goals in the first half of the season.

Mario Gutierrez leads Mar Vista with two goals.

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