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Lancers open defense of girls field hockey title on winning note Phillip Brents | Fri, Oct 25 2013 02:16 PM

The Hilltop High School girls field hockey team has successfully opened defense of its Metro Conference championship by defeating its first three league opponents in 2013.

The Lancers slipped past the host Bonita Vista Barons, 1-0, in the teams’ league opener on Oct. 11 and followed that with a resounding 11-0 victory against visiting Chula Vista on Oct. 16.

Hilltop made it three in a row against Metro foes by recording a clutch 4-2 victory at Eastlake last Friday.

Kasey Simonds scored the game-winning goal in the game at Bonita Vista, assisted by Miranda Dykes, while goaltender Vanessa Macias received credit for the shutout.

Last Friday’s game was scoreless at halftime as the teams combined for a flurry of six second-half goals.

Yasmine Ortega led the Lancers (11-5-1 overall) with a goal and assist while Michaela Murphy, Dykes and Natalie Coyle each scored one goal, Danielle Martin contributed two assists and Simonds recorded one assist. Goalie Kianna Santana was credited with six saves.

Gillian Stargensky scored both goals for Eastlake, which dropped to 1-1 in league play, 5-6 overall.

Hilltop coach Rita Parrish said her team appears to be gaining momentum at the right time of the season.

“We lost five seniors to graduation but we managed to keep our core players,” Parrish explained. “We have some new talent, but overall we’re pretty solid. The team has grown and improved every game we’ve played.

“Our goal is to defend our league championship.”

The Metro Conference line-up remains as in the past, with no new members joining this season. Bonita Vista joins Hilltop, Eastlake, Otay Ranch and Chula Vista as Metro members.

Hilltop will host Otay Ranch on Friday in a key league match-up; the Lancers will host Bonita Vista on Wednesday, Oct. 30, as part of its annual Pink Game” festivities to benefit breast cancer.

“We have close connections to individuals who have gone through treatment and are survivors,” Parrish said. “We want to do something philanthropic to help benefit others.”

Going forward

Stargensky, last year’s team MVP and top scorer this season with 13 goals and five assists, is one of seven returning starters on this year’s Titan team. Defender Megan Coble and midfielder Alexyss McClellan join Stargensky as key returners.

Despite the setback to Hilltop, EHS coach Robert Blas said he still expects his team to turn in a “promising season.”

The Titans opened league play with a 5-0 win at Chula Vista on Oct. 9. Chloe Isbell was the team’s player of the game by scoring two goals while Nika Ablao, Stargensky and McClellan each scored once.

Why they play the game

Chula Vista opened the season with a 5-0 loss to Southwest but topped Morse, 1-0, on Sept. 18 in other non-league action.

Spartan coach Ben Villanueva calls girls field hockey a “hard sell” but said his team enjoys competing on the field.

“This (is a) game no one knows about, but we do get players and they enjoy it and each other,” Villanueva said. “(It) makes for great seasons regardless of wins and losses.

“We will play hard and respect the game and our opponents.  Bonita, Otay Ranch and Hilltop are the teams to beat as usual.  We hope to be mentioned with them soon.”

Top returners include sophomores Celeste Garcia and Kimberly Conway, junior Lexus Alley and seniors Monica Torres, Zena Ramirez-Blantz and Chelsea Baloo.

Newcomers who hope to impact the team include seniors Ellia Monzo, Samantha Augilar, sophomore Catalina Mariscal and freshman Elaine Lazo.

Making the jump from the junior varsity ranks are juniors Priscilla Guerena and Caroline Talavera and Kapri Walker.

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