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Hilltop, Mar Vista kick start season with Barons tourney titles Phillip Brents | Fri, Dec 17 2010 06:38 PM

The 31st annual Barons girls high school soccer tournament is in the history books and a pair of South County champions have decidedly rosier prospects for the 2010-11 season. The Hilltop Lancers (Unlimited Division) and Mar Vista Mariners (Classic Division) both came away with coveted varsity titles in a tournament that serves as an early season measuring stick within the San Diego Section.

Hilltop went undefeated through its division, winning two and tying one of its three pool games and then sweeping its two opponents in last Saturday’s championship playoffs.
Impressively, the Lancers finished with four shutout victories in five games in repeating as Unlimited champions.

“It feels great,” HHS coach Rene Ortiz said. “To come away with a championship in a prestigious tournament like this is an honor. It speaks nothing but good things for soccer in the South Bay.”

Hilltop advanced to the semifinals after recording a 4-0 victory against Helix to close out pool play on Dec. 9. Memery Dewberry-Valencia, Jessica Carrillo, Maxia Espino and Marisa Espino each scored one goal in support of goalkeeper Hannah Teague. Prior to defeating the Highlanders, the Lancers kicked off tourney play with a 3-0 victory against El Capitan on Dec. 4 and followed with a 3-3 draw against Mira Mesa.

Both Maxia Espino and Marisa Espino scored in the draw against the Marauders.
Hilltop drew Point Loma in the semifinals with a little measure of revenge to exact. The Pointers eliminated the Lancers in the playoffs two years ago. Hilltop was the No. 1 seed in Division II, and though Point Loma went on to win the division title with a string of upsets, the loss still stung.

Last year’s Unlimited Division title helped soothe those wounds and this year’s title appears to have erased any scars.

Top-seeded Hilltop won convincingly this time around against the fourth-seeded Pointers, with Nicole Wolfe scoring two goals and Dewberry-Valencia and Marisa Espino each scoring once in a 4-0 victory.

Third-seeded Scripps Ranch defeated second-seeded Mira Mesa, 4-0, to draw the Lancers in the championship game played at Hilltop. The hosts dominated the contest, winning 4-0 on goals by Dewberry-Valencia, Marisa Espino, Bianca Mora and Jessica Carrillo. Teague was again credited with the shutout.

Wolfe was named the Unlimited Division MVP for the second consecutive year.

Ortiz, a former prep standout at Southwest High School and later professional with the San Diego Sockers, said the goals remain the same for his defending Mesa League champions.

“We have a very optimistic outlook on the season,” he said. “We want to win league again and do well in CIF — go as far as we can in the playoffs. It’s always a challenge because we play top teams like Eastlake and Bonita Vista, which are both in our league.”

Mar Vista and Sweetwater both qualified for the Classic Division semifinals. Sweetwater, which breezed through pool play with three wins, received the No. 3 seed while the Mariners were seeded fourth after defeating River Valley, 7-0, in their final pool game following a pair of ties to start the tournament.

Sweetwater drew second-seeded San Diego High Tech in Saturday morning’s semifinals, dropping a 2-1 decision in double overtime. Mar Vista, meanwhile, battled top-seeded Orange Glen to a scoreless tie through regulation and four overtime periods before outlasting the Patriots, 4-2, in kicks from the mark.

Tournament director Ron Pietila said kicks from the 11-meter spot are rightly called penalty kicks in regulation play but should only be referred to as “kicks from the mark” to decide a winner in the spot-kick tie-breaker.

The Mariners used the same strategy in the final match against SDHT, this time winning, 4-2, in kicks from the mark.

Paola Nunez, Monze Tavera, Kim Avalos and Thania Ceja each scored on their kicks from the mark in the tie-breaker.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Mariner goalkeeper Laura Hernandez earned honors as the division MVP.

Also named to the all-tournament team from Mar Vista were Nunez, Monze Tavera and Ceja, all seniors.

According to Pietila, this was the first time that Mar Vista has won a division title.
“All the girls didn’t give up — they stepped up to help their teammates when the occasion arose,” MV coach Gisela Wolfe said. “They kept their intensity during the whole match.”
Wolfe said the team’s goals are now set.

“We’d like to finish first in our league (South Bay League),” the MVHS coach said. “We have a senior-heavy team. It’s our goal. We believe we can do it.”

Corner kicks
Bonita Vista finished pool play undefeated in the varsity Premier Division with one victory and two ties but failed to advance to the semifinals. That honor went to Rancho Bernardo, which nosed out the tourney co-host Barons by one standing point. Fourth-seeded RB upset top-seeded Poway in the semifinals and then second-seeded LCC, 1-0, in the final.

Eastlake dropped its pool finale, 1-0, to Poway to also miss out on the Premier Division semifinals.

This year’s tournament featured 104 teams — 50 in four varsity divisions and 54 in four junior varsity divisions.

Top-seeded University City, behind MVP Nicole Bermudes, defeated second-seeded Mission Bay, 3-0, to win the Limited Division championship while second-seeded La Costa Canyon and fourth-seeded Rancho Bernardo were set to square off for the Premier Division title in a game postponed until Wednesday.

In the Premier Division semifinals, RB edged top-seeded Poway, 2-1, while LCC shut out third-seeded Steele Canyon 3-0.

In the Limited Division semifinals, UC stopped fourth-seeded El Camino, 4-0, while Mission Bay outlasted Francis Parker in kicks from the mark after a 3-3 overtime tie.

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