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Eastlake polo men zeroing in on fifth consecutive Mesa League title Phillip Brents | Mon, Oct 29 2012 02:31 PM

The San Diego Section boys water polo playoffs start Tuesday, Nov. 6, for Division I and Division III teams and on Thursday, Nov. 8, for Division II teams.

The Eastlake Titans confirmed their invitation to this year’s Division I post-season tournament by nailing down their fifth consecutive Mesa League championship title with a 14-2 victory against the Otay Ranch Mustangs Tuesday afternoon at the Loma Verde pool.

Eastlake has won 34 consecutive games in league play and assured itself of this year’s league title by defeating the Mustangs. The Titans (7-0 in league, 18-10 overall) have one league game remaining buthold a two-game bulge in the loss column over second place Hilltop (5-2, 13-8).

It was a well-rounded effort. Scoring leaders for Eastlake included Daniel Lord (four goals), Kyle DeAlva (three goals), Kyle Schauer (two goals), Johnny Velasquez (two goals), Jian Laxina (two goals) and Jian Miclat (one goal). Team scoring leader Josue Alvarez did not play.

Ricky Gonzalez posted 10 goalie blocks for the Titans.

If Eastlake is to find success in this year’s CIF playoffs, it appears it might come down to a rematch against the Torrey Pines Falcons — a team against which the Titans have just fallen short in two meetings so far this season.

The latest matchup took place last Friday in the 40-team San Diego Open tournament, which annually serves as a seeding platform for the upcoming playoffs.

Torrey Pines won 11-10 to build on an earlier 9-7 victory against Eastlake.

Titan coach Chris Barrick called it “another dog fight.”

“It was a great game that came down to the goalies,” Barrick said. “Torrey’s goalie had a great game and moved laterally very well. Ricky (Gonzalez),our goalie, had a rough night and gave up three very easy goals that made a huge difference.

“There’s a very good chance we’ll see them again in the first round of CIF.  I would love to have another chance.”

Alvarez led EHS with four goals while Velasaquez had three goals. MIclat and Laxina each scored once while Lord, the Titans’ second-leading scorer on the season, was held to one goal in seven shooting attempts.

Eastlake earned the rematch against the Falcons by winning their opening two tournament games on Thursday, Oct. 25. The Titans sank Point Loma, 8-5, and then topped Mercer Island, Wash., 10-9, in overtime.

Barrick termed the encounter against Mercer Island another “great game.”

“We went into sudden death and shut them down on their first possession,” the EHS coach said. “We got back down the pool, set up and couldn’t make anything happen. Jian Laxina was at the five-meter position with four seconds left on the shot clock and made a perfect pass into Johnny Velasquez, who stepped back at two meters and had about 12 inches of separation from his defender. Johnny buried the ball right over the top of the goalies head for the win.

“It was a good one for our program and a real confidence booster going into the game against Torrey Pines.”
Alvarez led the team with nine goals in the wins over Point Loma and Mercer Island, while Laxina followed with four goals, Lord had three goals and Velazquez had two goals.

The Titans closed out the tournament with two games on Saturday. Eastlake defeated Valley Center, 12-11, and then came up short to Mission Bay, 17-10, to finish in a tie with Canyon Crest for 11th place in the final tourney standings.

“We played well for the most part in the tournament,” Barrick said.  “In the Mission Bay game, we got way behind early and made a great comeback in the third and fourth quarters and got it within two goals.  They scored a junk goal to make it three-up and our guys were gassed, so I played the bench and the JV kids I brought up for the tournament.  The game didn’t mean anything for the Division I rankings, so I let the youngsters get some experience.”

Alvarez led the Titans in tournament scorring with 21 goals, followed by Lord (11 goals), Velasquez (seven goals) and Laxina (six goals).

Alvarez now has 105 goals, 94 steals and 55 assists this season; Lord continues to rank second on the team with 78 goals, 85 steals and 40 assists. Velasquez has 59 goals, 37 steals and 18 assists.

 Santana scored a stunning 5-3 upset of Granite Hills to win this year’s tournament title while semifinalists Torrey Pines and Serra share third place, Grossmont and San Marcos shared fifth place, Fallbrook and Southgate shared seventh place, Lincoln (Oregon) and Mission Bay shared ninth place, Mt. Carmel and Rancho Buena Vista shared 13th place and Valhalla and Valley Center shared 15th place.

The Titans would also like to make amends for a 12-9 non-league loss to RBV should the teams pair up in the Division I playoffs.

Wet shots
Four Metro Conference teams participated in this year’s San Diego Open. Joining Eastlake were Bonita Vista, Mar Vista and Southwest.

Bonita Vista finished 2-3. The Barons opened with an 8-5 loss to Helix on Monday, Oct. 22, then lost to Ramona before defeating Escondido, 15-7, in a pair of games on Friday, Oct. 26. BVHS closed out tourney play on Saturday with a 14-4 setback to El Capitan and a 9-8 OT victory against Monte Vista.

Mar Vista finished 2-3. The Mariners dropped games to West Hills (7-2) and Monte Vista (9-8 in overtime) before recording a victory against South Bay League foe Southwest. MVHS split its final two games on Saturday, falling by a 15-4 score to Bellvue, Wash., and edging El Camino 6-5.

Southwest finished 0-5. The Raiders dropped matchups to Valhalla (18-2), La Jolla Country Day (15-1), Mar Vista, Del Norte (28-3) and Clairemont (16-4).

Mar Vista, which looks to clinch this year’s South Bay League title and book a trip to the Division III playoffs, enters this week 14-9 overall, 8-0 in league play.

The Mariners topped Olympian, 17-2, on Thursday, Oct. 25 to pick up their latest league win. Mar Vista is scheduled to host LJCD in a non-league game Monday, Oct. 29, at 3 p.m.


Now it's Uribe's turn to set records for Hilltop
In the Hilltop Lancers' game on Thursday, Oct. 25, senior Nick Howard set a new single-season school record with 165 goals; Tiuesday, senior Carlos Uribe set a new single-season mark for assists by collecting nine helpers in a 15-9 Mesa League victory at Mater Dei Catholic.

Uribe upped his season assist total to 125 — surpassing the 121 assists posted by the legendary Tommy Martinez in 1980. Martinez held both the school and Metro Conference record.

Uribe also finished Tuesday's game with three goals and six steals. For the season, he has scored 57 goals and added 76 steals.

Howard had six goals, five assists and nine steals while teammate Carlos Lizarraga collected five goals and eight steals.

The Lancers netted 30 steals in the game while Connor Kober (seven) and Josue Macias (six) combined for 13 goalie saves.

Uribe now stands in third place in all-time single-season assists in the San Diego Section and can move into sole possession of second place (ahead of Crawford's Tom Allen) with two more assists. Allen recorded 126 assists in 1982.

Howard stands at 171 goals, leaving him six shy of tying the listed conference record by Eastlake's Felix Dion (2009). Howard, who already holds a section record for most single-season steals with 182, needs seven goals to become the all-time Metro single-season scoring leader.

Hilltop has two regular season games remaining — Thursday against Bonita Vista at the Parkway pool and Friday at Mar Vista. Both games start at 3 p.m.

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