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East team ‘Cruzes’ to 3-1 girls soccer all-star victory Phillip Brents | Fri, Mar 21 2014 03:05 PM

Last Friday’s Metro Conference senior girls all-star game at Sweetwater High School provided a season full of memories for twins Aleena and Alyssa Cruz.

The sisters had a chance to play on the same team together and share a victory as the East defeated the West by a score of 3-1.

“It was fun because my sister goes to another school and I could play with her,” Aleena said. “It was fun getting to play this one last high school game with her.”

While the Cruz sisters are twins, Aleena attends Bonita Vista High School while Alyssa attends Otay Ranch High School, thus maintaining somewhat different social circles.

Aleena helped Metro-Mesa League champion Bonita Vista advance as far as the San Diego Section Division I semifinals this past season while Alyssa helped the league rival Mustangs to a 3-3-2 league finish.

Both, however, wore No. 3 jerseys throughout the season for their respective teams, and both sported the same jersey number in last Friday’s game.

“It was a fun game,” Alyssa Cruz noted. “We played for different teams in high school — it was the same for club — so it was nice to play on the same team with my sister for a change, and she scored our goals. It was also nice to get a win, as the East team lost last year, at least last year’s seniors did.”

The twins combined to put the East up 1-0 in the game as Alyssa fed Aleena a pass that the Baron shooter put away with six minutes remaining in the first half.

The East, which included players from Bonita Vista and Otay Ranch high schools, dominated the match against the West, which included players from Sweetwater, Chula Vista, Montgomery, Southwest, Castle Park and San Ysidro high schools.
Aleena Cruz made it 2-nil in the East’s favor by pouncing on a loose ball in front of the West net with 9:40 to play in the second half.

Southwest’s Juliana Campos halved the East’s lead to 2-1 on a nice individual effort with 7:30 left in the game.
But Otay Ranch's Alexa Vargas returned the East to a two-goal advantage when she scored with 35 seconds left on the clock.

If it were not for the superb play of San Ysidro goalkeeper Dahlia Sandoval, the West team would likely not have been able to hang as close as it did to the East in the game.

Season review

The ending to the 2013-14 season was bittersweet for the Barons, who carried the torch for the conference deepest into this year’s CIF playoffs. Bonita Vista edged San Marcos, 1-0, on a late goal by freshman sensation Natalya Romaine in a quarterfinal-round game played at Mater Dei Catholic High School during a wind and rainstorm before the third-seeded Barons (18-4-2) closed out their season with a 2-0 loss at second-seeded Scripps Ranch.

BVHS coach Ryan Marquez admitted playing during a squall was not pleasant.

“The game wasn’t so bad but the warm-ups were, the wind would blow balls to the other side of the field,” Marquez said. “It didn’t rain as hard during the game but by then everyone was soaked. That is what made it so unpleasant.”

The goal was Romaine’s 10th of the season; senior teammate Jennifer Ballez drew the game-winning assist.

“Natalya had a truly amazing game, she played like a senior,” Marquez noted.

The loss to Scripps Ranch was the Barons’ third of the season, following a 1-0 setback to the Falcons in December’s Barons tournament and a 2-0 non-league loss later in the season.

“I thought we played very well in the playoff game but they (the Falcons) had some good players,” the BVHS coach explained.

Scripps Ranch (20-3-4) would go on to place runner-up in the division final by a 2-nil score to top-seeded Cathedral Catholic (28-2-3), which would go on to win the state regional championship.

The Barons lose five seniors from their Division I semifinalist team.

“It’s always difficult to replace quality players,” Marquez noted. “But we still have a lot of strong players returning throughout the line-up. We should be successful next year as well.”

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