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Defense is making a difference at Bonita Vista John Philip Wyllie | Fri, Jan 21 2011 10:17 PM

A year ago, the Bonita Vista Barons captured their eighth Mesa League title for veteran coach Jason Murphy, but then fell to league nemesis Chula Vista in the San Diego Section playoffs. The Barons entered the week riding a promising 9-3-1 start, with a  Grossmont Holiday Tournament title in tow over winter break. The team’s early success has been achieved largely with its rock solid defense.

Goalkeeper Alvaro Alvarez has used his cat-like reflexes to post six shutouts so far. “He has gotten bigger and has really stepped up this season,” Murphy said. 

Alvarez has been aided considerably by his nearly impenetrable backline. Senior central defender Ramon Martin Del Campo is the dean of the Barons defense. He is both physical and quick to close on opposing shooters.

“He is a beast in the back and really anchors our defense,” said Murphy, who has received several inquiries on him from collegiate coaches.

A lock to advance to the next level, Martin Del Campo shares the central defense with skillful and solid Johnny Martinez. They are flanked on the right by Matt Hall and on the left by Paolo Macias. The quartet combines speed, smarts and toughness to provide a challenge to any would-be scorer. The Baron defense will play out of a flat four most of the time.

“Our midfield has changed over and over and over again,” the BVHS coach said.

The central midfield is being patrolled at least for now by Rafa Calavera and Luis Cardona with Grant Veenstra working the right flank and Francisco Gomez working the left. Gomez can also play effectively as a striker. The midfield is a bit of a work in progress as Murphy attempts to find the best possible combination.

Up top, Roger San Roman is the team’s leading scorer with nine goals. The other front-runner, Andres Ruiz, has a pair of goals to his credit and seven assists. Ruiz is probably the most versatile player on the team and is capable of playing effectively as a forward, midfielder or defender.

The Barons have impressed this season with wins over usually tough St. Augustine, Valhalla, Rancho Buena Vista and Granite Hills. While they fell to powerhouse Torrey Pines, the 3-1 score was not indicative of what was a closely contested match.

Before they can think about winning consecutive league titles, the Barons will have to come up with a plan to defeat Hilltop, off to a 15-2 start. The Lancers’ two losses came in their two games against undefeated Poway.  Chula Vista is also expected to be in the hunt. With league play now under way, it should be an interesting battle.

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