The defending Mesa League champion Eastlake Titans passed their first test in league play by defeating the Hilltop Lancers, 15-6, in Wednesday’s league opener at the Southwestern College pool.
Titan scoring leader Johnny Velazquez turned in a monster performance in the pool by scoring nine goals; he was unstoppable, scoring by a variety of means and from a variety of positions around the pool.
Eastlake's sizable contingent of young players also contributed. Zach Randall had two goals while teammates Will Johnston, Kyle Kowalski, Sal Gomez and Kyle De Alva each scored one goal.
EHS goalie Ricky Gonzalez was required to make just four saves.
Hilltop, which finished second in the league standings last year, dropped to 8-8 after Wednesday's setback. Carlos Lizarraga led the Lancers with five goals.
Hilltop appeared to play tough defense in the opening quarter but instead was left staring at a 5-1 deficit on the scoreboard as the speedy Titans executed plays in slicker fashion than their opponent.
The victory was notable in that it was the first league win for new head coach Austin Legg, an EHS alumnus. He inherits a team that was won five consecutive league banners and appears now to be working toward securing a sixth.
"We haven't turned any heads with our record this year, but when we play together and smart, we're a dangerous team," Legg summed up.
Eastlake captured the team title at last weekend's Fall Classic tournament held at Helix High School with a 5-0 record. The Titans defeated Torrey Pines in the championship game. Top players included Zach Randall and Will Johnston.
Mesa League opener: Bonita Vista 12, Otay Ranch 7
The host Mustangs played a “solid and strategic” opening three quarters against the Barons, according to ORHS coach Ernie Medina, before sputtering at the end.
The score was tied 1-1 after the first period, with the Mustangs moving in front by a 5-4 margin at halftime. Bonita Vista made its comeback in the second half. The Barons took a 7-6 lead at the end of the third quarter and outscored the hosts 5-1 in the final quarter to seal the victory.
“The boys ran out of gas and Bonita Vista made better plays,” Medina summed up. “Otay made mistakes. Our boys are getting better but need to finish stronger.”
Bryan Murillo led the Barons with seven goals.
The Mustangs, who opened the season with a six-game winning streak, dropped to 6-2 in regular season play. Otay Ranch’s season opening winning streak came to an end following a 15-4 non-league setback at Monte Vista on Oct. 2.
Mariners sink Spartans 17-1, improve to 4-0 in league play
Mar Vista improved to 4-0 in South Bay League play, 10-2 overall, after defeating Chula Vista, 17-1, Wednesday afternoon at the Parkway pool. Top scorers included Zach Mahan with four goals while teammates Duncan Hastings and Shane Landry each scored three goals.
Mar Vista led 15-0 before the Spartans scored its lone goal late in the fourth quarter.
Chula Vista played one of its better defensive games to start off the contest, holding the defending league champions to four goals in the first quarter.
Mariners coach Chad Kavanagh said this is the best Mar Vista team he has coached since he came on board as head coach a dozen or so years ago. The Mariners posted a 3-2 finish in the season opening 32-team Poway Invitational and opened the recent East County Invitational 2-0.
"We've had a good start, and I'm hoping we can get a seed in the CIF playoffs higher than 12 — we've always been 12," Kavanagh said. "I'd like us to get higher than 12 and maybe even host a game. But if we can get higher than 12, i'll be real happy with that. I think it's something that can happen."