After dropping their opening South Bay League match-up against the Southwest Raiders, 6-2, prior to the winter break, members of the defending league Mar Vista Mariners vowed the Raiders would face a different team when league play resumed in January. Despite the loss, the Mariners weren’t quite ready to relinquish their league title, at least just yet.
And following its tight 4-3 victory against Southwest last Thursday (Jan. 12) at Skate San Diego in National City, Mar Vista fired its opening salvo of 2012.
The Mariners are suddenly back in contention.
“We underestimated them the first time we played them and they caught us flat-footed,” MVHS first-year head coach Ryan Scott said. “Jerry Nestlerode (Southwest head coach) is a great coach. I knew he’d have his team prepared. They deserved to win that first game.”
The Mariners put together a better effort in the teams’ second match-up but winning it wasn’t easy.
Southwest opened the game with a 1-0 lead on a goal by Angel Rocha just two minutes into the contest. Hunter Calef, Mar Vista big gun, responded 50 seconds later to tie the game.
The teams then traded goals in the final two minutes of the first period for a 2-2 standoff. Calef gave the Mariners a 2-1 lead with 1:58 to play in the stanza on a short-handed effort. The Raiders then scored with 18 seconds left, with the goal credited to Martin Winfield, Southwest’s top gun.
Calef scored his third goal of the game — and second consecutive short-handed — to complete a natural hat trick with 5:27 remaining in the second period to push Mar Vista up 3-2.
Once again, the Raiders answered the challenge, this time with 9:20 to play in the final period to knot the teams at three goals apiece.
The action proved furious from there, with each team zipping up and down the playing surface. Andrew Medlock finally corked one past Southwest goaltender Sean Garcia with 7:12 left in the game to give the Mariners a 4-3 edge. Calef drew an assist on the go-ahead goal to give him four points in the contest (three goals, one assist).
But the game was far from over. The Raiders turned up the pressure noticeably in the final three minutes and pulled Garcia in favor of an extra attacker in the waning stages. But the MV defense, braced by netminder Brian Dennis, held firm down the stretch in an otherwise evenly-played match-up.
The victory pushed Mar Vista’s league record to 6-1 (6-2 overall) while Southwest dropped to 7-1 in league play (7-3 overall).
The teams meet twice more in league play.
“It was a hard-fought game with a big effort from No. 9 (Calef),” Scott said. “It was a team effort with a great boost from our sophomore goaltender Brian Dennis.”
Southwest continued to roll forward by defeating Chula Vista, 6-1, on Tuesday as South Bay League resumed. The Raiders, who improved to 8-1 in league (8-3 overall), received a goal and assist from Whitfield as well as goals credited to Rocha, Sarah Herrera and Angel Alamillo.
Trevon Rogers scored his 39th goal of the season for the Spartans (3-6, 3-9).
Mar Vista met up with Sweetwater on Wednesday in a make-up game, winning 15-7 to improve to 7-1 in league play (7-2 overall). Hunter led the Mariners scoring parade with eight goals and one assist while Jesus Grijalva contributed three goals and three assists, Medlock had a hat trick and David Jacob contributed a goal and two assists. Jordan Robinette also collected one assist.
Ricky Lawson, Mauricio Estrada and Marco Alvarado each scored two goals for Sweetwater (2-7, 4-8).
The same teams met Thursday in a regularly scheduled league encounter, with Mar Vista coming out on top by a 15-2 score.
Medlock led the Mariners with seven points on three goals and four assists while Hunt collected five goals and one assist to go with three goals and one assist by Robinette, a pair of goals and assists by Grijalva and two goals and one assist by David.
Calef raised his team-leading statistical count to 45 goals and 56 points.
“I know that Jerry (Nestlerode) will have his team prepared when we face them the next two times, and I will try to have my team prepared as best as possible,” Scott said. “I expect two close games.”
Titans corral Mustangs to even up Mesa League standings
The Eastlake Titans don’t appear ready to hand either the Otay Ranch Mustangs or the Hilltop Lancers the rights to their Mesa League title, at least yet anyway, after stunning the heavily-favored Mustangs, 4-3, Wednesday at Skate San Diego to conclude the opening stage of three rounds of league play.
The titanic victory left Eastlake, Otay Ranch and Hilltop all tied with 2-1 league records. The Lancers defeated Bonita Vista, 16-1, on Wednesday.
Otay Ranch appeared the early favorite after defeating Hilltop, 10-5, on Jan. 11. The Lancers faced off league play with a tight 5-1 win against the Titans.
Eastlake improved to 4-5 overall while the Mustangs dropped to 4-8. Hilltop is 5-5 overall. Bonita Vista is 1-8.
League play resumes Wednesday, Jan. 25, when Eastlake faces off against Hilltop and Otay Ranch once again meets Bonita Vista.
The first-round Mesa encounter between Otay Ranch and Hilltop was inarguably the best game played this season by two South County teams until Wednesday’s one-goal thriller.
The Mustangs took a 1-0 lead on the youth-laden Titans just 3:15 into the contest on a goal by freshman sensation Devyn Taras. However, Eastlake’s own fantastic frosh, Aaron Meyer, notched a power play goal at 8:50 of the period to tie the game.
Otay Ranch closed the first period with a 2-1 lead on a goal by team scoring leader Cole Beatie. But the pesky Titans wouldn’t go away. Unanswered goals by Meyer and Eric Alvarez pushed Eastlake ahead 3-2. But the period ended in a three-all draw after Jason Albano scored for the Mustangs.
Alvarez scored a power play goal for the Titans with 2:42 gone in the third period, and the Eastlake defense made the one-goal margin stand up for the final 12:18 of the game.
The Titans are braced in the net by returner Darius Newhall, who made 37 saves as Otay Ranch piled up a 40-11 shot advantage in the heart-pounding game.
"It didn't really hit me that we had pulled off the upset win until the game was over," said Newhall, who entered the season tabbed as the top netminder among the conference's South County teams. "We maximized the opportunities we had in the game and concentrated on not making mistakes."
The win against the Mustangs has to rank as the top moment so far in the tenure of new coach Ron Cole, who guided the Mar Vista program for 11 seasons. "I think you can chalk up the win to four things: hard work, determination, planning and, yes, luck."
Eastlake's young roller warriors will be out the rest of the season to prove that their titanic victory was anything but lucky.
South Bay League Standings
(Through Jan. 20)
Mar Vista 8-1
Chula Vista 3-7
Castle Park 3-7
Otay Ranch 2-1
Bonita Vista 0-3
(Through Jan. 20, 2012)
SOUTH BAY LEAGUE
Southwest Raiders (12 games)
Martin Whitfield 26 goals, 11 assists - 37 points
Angel Rocha 16 goals, 5 assists - 21 points
Angel Alamillo 5 goals, 5 assists - 10 points
Sarah Herrera 11 goals - 11 points
C.J. Baiza 2 goals, 6 assists - 8 points
Carloa Ochoa 3 goals, 5 assists - 8 points
Alejandro.Martinez 3 goals, 3 assists - 6 points
Steven Regaliza 3 goals, 2 assists - 5 points
David Castellow 5 goals, 1 assist - 6 points
Mar Vista Mariners
Hunter Calef 45 goals, 11 assists - 56 points
Andrew Medlock 23 goals, 10 assists - 33 points
Jordan Robinette 12 goals, 15 assists - 27 points
Jacob David 7 goals, 11 assists - 18 points
Jesus Grijalva 8 goals, 6 assists - 14 points
Billy Warren 1 goal - 1 point
Chula Vista Spartans
Trevon Rogers 45 goals, 4 assists - 49 points
Librado Fierro 9 goals, 4 assists - 13 points
Ryan Mothershed 8 goals, 2 assists - 10 points
Chris Conway 1 goal, 4 assists - 5 points
Ansel Gonzalez 1 goal, 2 assists - 3 points
Alex Wallace 2 assists - 2 points
Sweetwater Red Devils
Mauricio Estrada 25 goals, 8 assists - 33 points
Ricky Lawson 13 goals, 8 assists - 21 points
Adrian Guerrero 8 goals, 8 assists - 16 points
Jessica Flores 3 goals, 6 assists - 9 points
Marco Alvarado 5 goals, 2 assists - 7 points
Martin Tejeda 4 goals 2 assists - 6 points
Robin Sagun 3 goals, 1 assist - 4 points
Ulisis Mireles 1 goal - 1 point
Luciana Gallegos 1 assist - 1 point
Castle Park Trojans
David Anderson 43 goals, 9 assists - 52 points
Juan Luna 19 goals, 7 assists - 26 points
Horacio Mireles 6 goals, 3 assists - 9 points
Joshua Avina 3 goals, 3 assists - 6 points
Sarah Kaae 1 goal, 3 assists - 4 points
Isiaih Ruiz 1 goal, 3 assists - 4 points
Chris Briseno 1 goal - 1 point
George Godinez 39 goals, 15 assists - 54 points
Jeremiah Schultz 17 goals, 18 assists - 35 points
Nick Tesner - 6 goals, 11 assists - 17 points
Alfonso Arreguin 7 goals, 4 assists - 11 points
Giovanni Rude 7 goals, 3 assists - 10 points
Richard Pol - 5 goals, 5 assists - 10 points
Tanner Franklin 4 goals, 3 assists - 7 points
Luis Ontiveros 5 goals, 1 assist - 6 points
Phillip Fune 3 goals, 2 assists - 5 points
April Burnett 2 goals, 2 assists - 4 points
Sebastian Ross 1 goal, 2 assists - 3 points
Alberto Perez 2 goals - 2 points Rey Cordero 1 assist - 1 point
Otay Ranch Mustangs
Cole Beatie 39 goals, 10 assists - 49 points
Devyn Taras 21 goals, 22 assists - 43 points
Matt Mendez 9 goals, 10 assists - 19 points
Jon Managbanag 8 goals, 6 assists - 14 points
Jason Albano 3 goals, 9 assists - 12 points
Joey Parisi 7 goals, 2 assists - 9 points
Dzaire Dallas - 2 goals, 2 assists - 4 points
Ruben Sais 2 goals, 2 assists - 4 points
Carlos Barrios 3 goals - 3 points
Kyle Hawkins 2 goals - 2 points
Aaron Meyer 17 goals, 3 assists - 20 points
Sam Bawden 8 goals, 9 assists - 17 points
Mike Mechling 7 goals, 6 assists - 13 points
Zac Zasueta 3 goals - 3 points
Aric Alvarez 2 goals - 2 points
Jacquie Ponce 2 assists - 2 points
Zane White 1 goal, 1 assist - 2 points
Nic Rodriguez 1 goal, 1 assist - 2 points
Josh Randall 1 goal - 1 point
Daniel Jimenez 1 assist - 1 point
Jaden White 1 assist - 1 point
Bonita Vista Barons
Jon O'Brien 25 goals, 1 assist - 26 points
Joey Vera 10 goals, 5 assists - 15 points
Cindy Flores 4 assists - 4 points
Miranda Peters 3 assists - 3 points
Leah Buchsbaum 2 goals - 2 points
Lucas Hanson 2 assists - 2 points
Nicole Tran 1 assist - 1 point