The Hilltop High School girls lacrosse team tied a school record for most wins in one season after defeating host Chula Vista, 16-1, on Monday to improve to 13-1 on the season.
The Lancers led 10-0 after the first half in rolling to their 12th consecutive victory.
Hilltop improved to 5-0 in league play with blowout victories against each team in the six-team Metro Conference.
Round two of league play awaits along with three non-league games.
Then, it’s time for the San Diego Section playoffs — and a date with destiny for this best ever Lancer team.
Is this simply a case of Hilltop being the proverbial big fish in a small pond or can the Lancers legitimately contend with the better teams (i.e. North County squads) in the upcoming Division I playoffs?
The Lancers’ 8-1 non-league record, albeit mostly against Division II teams, seems to indicate this year’s Metro monster squad can compete on the field.
Third-year HHS head coach Sasha Scott believes her team should receive some degree of respect when it comes time for post-season seeding.
Twelve teams qualify in each of the sections’ two divisional playoff fields this season. League champions automatically are included in the playoffs.
“From the way things are looking, I’m guessing we’re either the No. 9 or No. 10 seed,” Scott said.
Metro squads traditionally have not garnered much respect in playoff seeding in the past — it’s pretty much a given to place the Metro champion at the bottom of the list — but such a gesture would be a slap in the face to Metro teams this season.
The sport continues to improve by leaps and bounds in South County each season, though an established middle school feeder program continues to hold back the potential of local prep teams.
Can Hilltop win a first round playoff game? That’s a good question and Scott presently doesn’t have an answer for that.
But she might on May 10 — the date for the opening round of the section playoffs.
In the meantime, it’s full steam ahead for the Lancers.
Hilltop recorded a key 15-5 non-league victory at Helix on April 11. Nicci Coyle led the Lancer scoring parade with six goals and two assists. Chelsea Tuano (three goals, one assist) and Kasey Simonds (one goal, three assists) each chipped in with four points while Laurel Coleman recorded a hat trick.
Brigette Young and Hannah Teague each scored single goals while Natalie Coyle collected three assists.
Other non-league wins this season have come against Point Loma (12-7), Temecula Valley (8-1), Monte Vista (8-6), Temecula Great Oak (13-2), Santa Fe Christian (6-5), San Marcos (9-7) and Santana (11-5).
The Lancers’ lone loss on the season remains 8-7 against Patrick Henry in the second game of the season.
Hilltop has out-scored its five league opponents 69-8.
Entering Monday’s game, Nicci Coyle led Hilltop with 42 goals and 60 points, followed by Simonds with 25 goals and 36 points, Young with 19 goals and 27 points and Coleman and Teague each with 15 goals.
The team celebrates each road win with a round of ice cream.
Scott said the secret to the Lancers’ ongoing success this season is, in her words, “staying grounded and always knowing that there is room for improvement.”
“The girls know not to be satisfied with these wins and accomplishing these smaller goals, but to always work harder and look forward to achieving even bigger goals,” the HHS coach said.
“We know that there are teams in our division that will bring some serious competition in the CIF playoffs, so all we can do is try our best to prepare for that by working even harder than normal, and never giving up. This program has come a long way, but we still have a long road ahead of us to be the best team that we can be.”
Even if it means a little ice cream along the way.
Hilltop set a new school record with their 14th victory of the season (13th consecutive) bydefeating the host Preuss Tritons, 9-5, on Wednesday.