The San Diego Section girls field hockey playoffs started last Saturday with 12 teams in the Division I field and another 12 teams in the Division II field. Two Metro Conference teams qualified in the Division I field: league co-champions Hilltop and Otay Ranch.
The teams ended in a tie atop the standings after Hilltop defeated visiting Otay Ranch on strokes on Nov. 13. It was a must-win scenario for Hilltop after the Lancers had previously dropped a 3-1 decision at Otay Ranch on Oct. 25.
“The game versus was Otay Ranch was a match that the team had been looking forward to since our first encounter when we los,” HHS coach Rita Parrish explained. “In wanting to finish the season with the best possible record, we knew that we had to win this match-up and be co-champions.
“Our team and Otay Ranch played a tough game during regulation and overtime but we were able to come up big during penalty strokes.”
The win loomed large at the section level. Because Otay Ranch (7-1 in league, 14-10 overall) recorded a win in regulation in the teams’ two match-ups, the Mustangs were awarded entry into the playoffs as the league’s “designated” champion. Hilltop (7-1 in league, 14-6 overall) received a berth as an at-large entry.
In opening round playoff action on Nov. 16, 10th-seeded Otay Ranch hosted seventh-seeded Westview (17-6) while eighth0-seeded Hilltop hosted ninth-seeded Poway (12-13).
The two home games showcased the best of the Metro Conference, and the Lancers scored some major prestige points by earning a 2-0 victory to advance to the division quarterfinals. Otay Ranch’s season ended after a 3-0 loss to the Wolverines.
Hilltop’s Vanessa Macias recorded shutouts in both the Otay Ranch and Poway games. In the tiebreaker phase against Otay Ranch, Kasey Simonds, Danielle Martin and Michaela Murphy each scored penalty strokes.
Yasmine Ortega and Miranda Dykes each scored goals against Poway.
The win over Poway was the Lancers’ fifth consecutive since the initial loss in league play to Otay Ranch.
“I'm really proud that the team was able to rally and maintain a top position in our league by finishing as co-champs,” Parrish said. “Advancing to the second round of CIF was a tremendous accomplishment since we had bested Poway in the Serra Tournament. The team headed into the match with confidence and home field advantage on their side, and did a great job.”
Hilltop’s season ended with a 4-0 setback to top-seeded Scripps Ranch in Tuesday’s quarterfinals.
Scripps Ranch (20-4) defeated fourth-seeded Rancho Buena Vista, 1-0, in Thursday’s semifinals to advance to Saturday’s championship game against third-seeded Torrey Pines (21-5) at 1 p.m. at Scripps Ranch High School.
The Division II championship game pits top-seeded Serra (24-1) against second-seeded Canyon Crest (22-4) at 4 p.m. at Scripps Ranch High School.
Hilltop and Otay Ranch were the only two Metro teams to qualify for this year's playoff field. Bonita Vista finished 4-4 in league play, 10-9-1 overall, while Eastlake finished 2-6 in league, 6-11 overall, and Chula Vista finished 0-8 in league, 2-17 overall.
Gillian Stargensky led Eastlake in scoring with 16 goals, followed by teammate Melissa Moreno woth 11 goals. Zoe Montoya paced Bonita Vista with seven goals.