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Eastlake Titans growing up on the roller hockey court, measure up to top talent Phillip Brents | Fri, Dec 20 2013 01:19 PM

The Eastlake Titans are growing up and maturity could bring glittering awards and accolades once the final puck drops on the 2013-14 high school roller hockey season.

The Titans have successfully reinvented themselves after wholesale graduation robbed the team of nearly all its talent three seasons ago. The freshmen who rolled wide-eyed onto the court in 2011-12 are now juniors, a little taller, a lot faster and heavy on skill. As seniors next season, they could be unstoppable.

For the moment, they are proving they belong among the elite cadre of teams in the CIF-Metro Conference and it appears they do based on, of all things, a loss.

The Titans dropped a hotly contested 8-5 decision to the La Jolla Country Day Torreys in a non-league game played Dec. 9 at the Castle Park High School rink.

Eastlake entered the game without the services of junior Aaron Mayer, the conference's top scorer with 100 points last season, and clearly showed it is more than just a one man team against an experienced, fast and senior-laden LJCD squad.

The Titans challenged and held their own but appeared to wear down in the final minutes as the Torreys snapped a 5-5 tie with three late goals. It was a moral victory for the Eastlake squad, if nothing else, and clearly served as a measuring stick for the rest of the season.

LJCD faced off the 2013-14 campaign with an 11-1 loss to Central League favorite Cathedral Catholic, showing there is still room to be made up by both teams. But it appears the Titans aren't too far behind, especially when at full strength.

Eastlake shaded St. Augustine, 8-3, in its season opener on Dec. 2 while LJCD defeated the Saints, 5-0, in an enusing Central League game on Dec. 11. Should the Titans and Torreys meet again in February's Kiwanis Cup championship playoffs, the outcome could end differently.

But rest assured, it should be another great game by both teams.

EHS coach Ron Cole said he was pleased with the effort shown by his short-handed team in the loss to LJCD squad, and he should be.

The Titans are 2-0 in Mesa League play, 4-1 overall, entering the final week of play prior to the holiday break. Eastlake opened league play on a tear with 15-0 and 18-1 wins over Bonita Vista and Hilltop, respectively, on Dec. 10 and Dec. 11, and skated past Mar Vista by an 11-0 score in a non-league contest on Dec. 12 to finish a busy week with a 3-1 showing, the loss to the Torreys included.

“Four games in one week – the boys showed well,” Cole said.

The Titans have clearly earned honors as the top team among the conference's complement of South County squads to face off the new season, and figure to place somewhere in the top half of the 18-team conference. Just where they will finish will be interesting to find out.

Ditto for LJCD in what is shaping up as an extremely competitive middle tier of teams.

“We have a lot of seniors, we have more depth than in the past,” Torreys coach Dan Wagner said. “That raises the expectations that we've had in the past. My expectations going into the season was that there would be a lot of parity. Nothing has really gone against that so far. It makes it fun.”

LJCD took a 1-0 lead early over Eastlake on a goal by Peter Keutzing, but the Titans quickly rallied to go up 3-1 on ensuing goals by Will Winters, Nick Ziccardi and Sam Bawden (who also drew the assist on Ziccardi's go-ahead goal). The Torreys leveled the score at three goals each as Jack Little scored twice. Eastlake went up, 4-3, on a goal by Mike Mechling and Little scored his hat trick goal to once again draw the teams even on the scoreboard, this time at 4-4.

Mechling scored his second goal of the game to lift the Titans to a 5-4 advantage in the second period but Little notched his fourth goal of the game to tie things up again at five-all.

George Little scored the go-ahead goal for LJCD and Keutzing made it 7-5 by capitalizing on an Eastlake turnover with two minutes to play in the final period. Jack Little scored his fifth goal of the game shortly after that to close out what proved to be a comeback victory for the Torreys.
Golden boys
Mayer, returning to the EHS line-up, racked up eight goals and three assists in the 15-goal win over Bonita Vista and tacked on five goals and seven assists in the victory against Hilltop the next day. Mechling recorded a goal and three assists in the win over Bonita Vista while #10 scored twice and Gabe Sanchez, Nick Rodriguez, Ricardo Mendoza, Ziccardi and Winters each tallied one goal. Mechling and Winters each registered three goals and one assist against Hilltop while Rodriguez recorded a hat trick, Ziccardi and Sanchez each had a goal and assist and Mendoza and Danny Castillo each scored once. Zach Landry posted the shutout win over Bonita Vista. The Titans scored two short-handed goals in the win over Hilltop.

Mayer leads all South County conference scorers with 24 goals and 12 assists in four game appearances.

Otay Ranch kept pace with the Titans for early season supremacy in the Mesa League standings by turning back challenges from Hilltop (10-2 on Dec. 10) and Bonita Vista (8-6 on Dec. 11). Devyn Taras keyed the victorious Mustangs with five goals and one assist against Hilltop and collected two goals and four assists against Bonita Vista. Carlos Barrios had three goals and one assist in the win over Hilltop and bettered that with four goals and one assist in the victory against Bonita Vista. Ricky Portilla scored twice for the Mustangs in the game against Bonita Vista.

The win was the third in as many outings for new Otay Ranch coach Dylan Mahr, a 2006 graduate of the school. “It's exciting (coaching my alma mater),” Mahr explained. “I want the kids to take pride in what they're doing. I want us to be competitive in every game, and to get all our players in each game.”

In other games on Dec. 9 at the CPHS rink:

Southwest 5, Castle Park 0

Angel Rocha led the defending South Bay League champion Raiders with four goals and Henry Avalos scored once in support of goaltender Jose Andrade, who picked up the shutout victory in the key early season league match-up.

Sweetwater 6, Chula Vista 3
Mario Licudine collected four goals and one assist and Ulises Mireles added two goals and one assist to lead the Red Devils to their first win of the season in a South Bay League encounter against the Spartans. Caroline Talavera scored twice for Chula Vista, which also received one goal from Ellia Manzo.

In other games on Dec. 12 at the CPHS rink:

Hilltop 11, Chula Vista 1

Andrew Tesner led the Lancers with four goals and one assist in the non-league match-up while Sebastian Ross had two goals and two assists, Cameron Adams scored twice, Pablo Corona picked up a goal and assist, Anthony Lopez and Gerardo Martinez each scored once and Esteban Martinez contributed one assist. Hilltop led 11-0 in the game.

Eastlake 11, Mar Vista 0
Mike Mechling led the Titans to the non-league victory by tallying eight points on four goals and four assists while team scoring leader Aaron Mayer tacked on six goals and one assist for seven points. Sam Bawden and Nick Ziccardi each dished out three assists while Nick Rodriguez and Will Winters each scored once in the game shortened to two periods because of condensation on the rink surface. Zach Landry posted the shutout, his second in three days.

In other games on Dec. 13 at the CPHS rink:

Southwest 4, Mar Vista 2

Angel Rocha scored all four goals for the Raiders, the last two to break a 2-2 deadlock, as Southwest remained unbeaten in South Bay League play. The Raiders (3-0 in league play) scored first in the match-up of early season league unbeatens but the Mariners (2-1 in league) rallied to tie the game in the second period on a goal by Eloy Rodriguez. The teams then proceeded to trade goals, with Southwest going up 2-1 and Mar Vista netting the equalizer (off the stick of Cindy Moeller) before the period ended. Rocha scored the go-ahead goal for Southwest with 3:07 to play and added an empty net goal with 46 seconds left to seal the win. “It was an amazing game,” Southwest coach Jerry Nestlerode said.

Castle Park 10, Sweetwater 3

The Trojans picked up their first win of the season to snap a four-game losing streak. Horacio Mireles led Castle Park with six goals while Miguel Flores scored twice, Mario Cirignano and Issac Montero each scored once.

CIF-Metro Conference
Week 2 Game Log

Monday, Dec. 9

Castle Park High School

Southwest 5, Castle Park 0
Sweetwater 6, Chula Vista 3
La Jolla Country Day 8, Eastlake 5

RSportz Arena/El Cajon

Poway 8, West Hills 5

Escondido Sports Center

Westview 15, Del Norte 1
Rancho Bernardo 18, Scripps Ranch 1

Tuesday, Dec. 10
Castle Park High School

Otay Ranch 10, Hilltop 2

Eastlake 15, Bonita Vista 0

Wednesday, Dec. 11

Castle Park High School

Eastlake 18, Hilltop 1
Otay Ranch 8, Bonita Vista 6

Escondido Sports Center
Cathedral Catholic vs. West Hills, ppd.
Scripps Ranch 12, Del Norte 0
Poway 7, Rancho Bernardo 4

La Jolla Country Day 5, St. Augustine 0

Thursday, Dec. 12

Castle Park High School

Hilltop 11, Chula Vista 1

Eastlake 11, Mar Vista 0

Friday, Dec. 13

Castle Park High School

Castle Park 10, Sweetwater 3
Southwest 4, Mar Vista 2
Chula Vista vs. Bonita Vista, ppd.

Week 3 Game Log
Monday, Dec. 16
Castle Park High School

Bonita Vista 11, Sweetwater 2

St. Augustine 8, Southwest 2

RSportz Arena/El Cajon
West Hills 1, Del Norte 0 (forfeit)

Escondido Sports Center

Westview 7, Cathedral Catholic 4

Rancho Bernardo 9, La Jolla Country Day 0

Tuesday, Dec. 17

Castle Park High School

Bonita Vista 11, Chula Vista 0

Southwest vs. Sweetwater, ppd.

Wednesday, Dec. 18
Castle Park High School

Hilltop 12, Sweetwater 3

Rancho Bernardo 12, Otay Ranch 0

Escondido Sports Center

 8, Scripps Ranch 2
Del Norte vs. Poway
La Jolla Country Day vs. West Hills, ppd.

St. Augustine vs. Cathedral Catholic

Thursday, Dec. 19
Castle Park High School

Bonita Vista vs. Hilltop

Eastlake vs. Otay Ranch

Friday, Dec. 20

Castle Park High School

Chula Vista vs. Castle Park
Sweetwater vs. Mar Vista
Southwest vs. Hilltop

CIF-Metro Conference
2013-14 Standings

(Through Dec. 13)

South Bay League

Southwest Raiders 3-0, 3-0
Mar Vista Mariners 2-1, 2-3
Sweetwater Red Devils 1-1, 1-1
Castle Park Trojans 1-2, 1-4
Chula Vista Spartans 0-3, 0-4

Mesa League
Eastlake Titans 2-0, 4-1
Otay Ranch Mustangs 2-0, 3-0
Hilltop Lancers 0-2, 2-2
Bonita Vista Barons 0-2, 1-2

Central League
Cathedral Catholic Dons 1-0, 1-0

West Hills Wolf Pack 1-0, 2-1

La Jolla Country Day Torreys 1-1, 2-1
St. Augustine Saints 0-2, 0-3

North County League

Westview Wolverines 3-0, 3-0
Poway Titans 2-1, 3-1
Rancho Bernardo Broncos 2-2, 2-2
Scripps Ranch Falcons 1-2, 1-3

Del Norte Nighthawks 0-3, 0-3

CIF-Metro Conference
2013-14 Rankings

1. Westview Wolverines
2. Cathedral Catholic Dons

3. Poway Titans
4. Rancho Bernardo Broncos

5. West Hills Wolf Pack
6. La Jolla Country Day Torreys

7. Eastlake Titans
8. St. Augustine Saints

9. Scripps Ranch Falcons

10. Otay Ranch Mustangs

11. Southwest Raiders

12. Hilltop Lancers

13. Mar Vista Mariners

14. Bonita Vista Barons
15. Castle Park Trojans
16. Sweetwater Red Devils

17. Chula Vista Spartans

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