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Four Metro Conference teams to test playoff fortunes in new CIF Open Division Phillip Brents | Mon, Feb 24 2014 02:00 PM

Four Metro Conference teams will participate in the San Diego Section inaugural Open Division boys and girls soccer and boys and girls basketball playoffs. Competition will starts this week.

Eastlake, last year’s Division I champion, will represent the conference in the girls soccer playoffs while both Hilltop and Chula Vista will compete in the boys soccer playoffs.

Mater Dei Catholic will participate in the girls basketball playoffs.

Eight teams will compete in each bracket, with three rounds of single-elimination play, including the championship round.

Girls soccer
Eastlake (10-4-2) received the No. 7 seed in the eight-team draw and will kick off post-season competition at second-seeded Carlsbad (15-1-4) on Tuesday.

The Titans finished runner-up to Bonita Vista in this year’s Metro-Mesa League standings with a 4-2-1 league record, with both losses to the Barons, who received the No. 3 seed in the Division I playoffs.

The Eastlake-Carlsbad pairing is a rematch of last year’s Division I championship game in which the Titans squeezed out a 1-0 victory to capture the school’s first CIF banner in the sport.

The winner of Tuesday’s quarterfinal contest advances to meet either third-seeded La Costa Canyon (14-5-3) or sixth-seeded San Pasqual (10-6-3) in the semifinals on March 4.

The top half of the playoff bracket features top-seeded Torrey Pines (21-1-1) against eight-seeded Poway (6-12-3) and fourth-seeded Steele Canyon (19-4) against fifth-seeded Westview (14-6-6) in other quarterfinal pairings.

The championship game is March 7 at 5 p.m. at Mesa College.

Start times in all divisional playoff matches is scheduled for 5 p.m.

Boys soccer
Quarterfinal action kicks off Wednesday and both the Chula Vista Spartans (seeded sixth) and Hilltop Lancers (seeded eighth) will open with road matches.

Chula Vista (11-5-5) will play at third-seeded San Pasqual (13-3-7) while Hilltop (9-12-2) will test top-seeded Poway (15-1-8).

The Spartans (2-0-4) and Lancers (2-3-1) finished first and second, respectively, in the new Metro-Pacific League. The teams played to a scoreless draw last Friday, with a win by Hilltop cementing a league co-championship.

Chula Vista is riding some late season momentum with an eight-game unbeaten streak (4-0-4). The Spartans have gone 9-1-4 in their last 14 trips to the pitch.

Also selected to participate in the inaugural boys soccer Open Division playoffs are second-seeded Carlsbad (17-4-3), which will play seven-seeded LCC (5-9-7) in Wednesday's quarterfinals, and fourth-seeded Westview (19-3-2), which will host fifth-seeded Torrey Pines (10-7-7) in another quarterfinal on Wednesday.

Semifinal games are scheduled March 5, with the championship game set March 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Mesa College.

Quarterfinal and semifinal matches are at 5 p.m.

Girls basketball
Mater Dei Catholic (21-6) received the No. 3 seed in the elite hoops division and will host sixth-seeded Serra (19-9) in Friday's quarterfinals. Tip-off is 7 p.m.

Crusaders coach David Monroe said being selected to compete in the Open Division "gives your program a little prestige, meaning you're being recognized for your success over the past years."

However, Monroe added that in order to to stay competitive it places "a lot of pressure on me and my program."

"I don't think we have accomplished all we wanted to this season," Monroe said. "We had some ups and downs at times due to players missing for one reason or another, but we are getting at full strength for the playoffs and expecting to make a good run in the Open Division."

Mater Dei Catholic prepped for the upcoming test by capturing this year's Metro-Mesa League title with a perfect 8-0 run.

"We are going to take the playoffs one game at a time," the Crusaders coach said. "When you're playing in the Open Division for girls this year teams are very competitive and can sneak up on you. I am hoping we can get to that championship game and then that will allow us the opportunity to win it all."

Kandiss Barber has been the Crusaders' key player this season. But Monroe said she has been complimented by the other starters throughout the season.

"Jordan Brasfield, Kristeen Sellona, Shala Smith and Ongelise Hillard all have stepped up from game to game," Monroe said.

Barber is averaging 19.7 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game. Sellona (10.6 ppg) and Hillard (10.0 ppg) rank second and third, respectively, in team scoring.

Bishop's (24-5) received the No. 1 seed in this year's Open Division playoffs while Mt. Miguel (24-4) received the No. 2 seed. Also competing in the division are No. 4 LCC (24-3), No. 5 La Jolla Country Day (16-10), No. 7 Poway (17-10) and No. 8 Horizon (9-18).

Semifinals are scheduled at 7 p.m. on March 5. The division championship game is scheduled March 8 at 6:07 p.m. at USD's Jenny Craig Pavilion.

Peter Kluch contributed to this story.

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