The Mesa League’s winter sports schedule is a logistical nightmare for anyone trying to keep abreast of events with boys and girls soccer (playing at opposite sites) and boys and girls basketball all playing on Wednesday and Friday through February. Girls water polo also enjoys a Wednesday-Friday time slot, and even the Mesa League’s roller hockey teams play on Wednesday.
And, to compound matters, the South Bay League's soccer and basketball teams also play games on Wednesday and Friday.
The high school winter sports season isn't called the most busy of the interscholastic sports year without a good reason. For players and fans, with so many games packed into such a short span, it’s pure spectacle — and fun.
League play kicked off and tipped off in soccer and basketball on Wednesday (Jan. 18). Here’s a smattering of highlights:
The Hilltop Lancers kicked off defense of their league title with a 3-0 victory at Eastlake. The Lancers received single goals from Christian Vera, Angel Robles and Gerardo Zuniga while Adrian Zendejas made eight saves to record the shutout victory.
Hilltop improved to 1-0 in league, 11-2-1 on the season. Eastlake is 0-1 in league, 1-7-3 overall.
“Both teams played to a 0-0 halftime score with a lot of excellent soccer being seen on the field,” HHS coach John Salts said.
The Lancers put the game out of reach, however, with three goals in a seven-minute span midway through the second half.
Robles started the scoring at the 62-minute mark off a pass from Oscar Ortega. Vera followed with a goal three minutes later from a pass by Steven Jaramillo. Four minutes after that, Zuniga sprinted up the line and finished the scoring in the match with a goal off passes from Ricardo Valdez and Jimmy Estrada.
Bonita Vista, which upended the Lancers in last year’s San Diego Section Division II championship game, hosted one of the hottest teams to start the season in the Otay Ranch Mustangs, who entered Wednesday’s league opener sporting a 9-1 overall record.
The teams played to a 2-2 draw.
Otay Ranch had opened the season with seven consecutive victories before finally suffering its first defeat — 1-0 to Carlsbad — in the semifinals of the SoCal Classic.
The Barons, who suffered a massive hit in the graduation department, are now 0-3-1 in their last four matches, 3-5-2 on the season.
In the other opener, Olympian celebrated its arrival in the Mesa League with a 3-1 victory against Mater Dei Catholic. The Eagles improved to 1-0 in league, 6-6 overall.
Brandon? Sanchez scored twice and Francisco Salinas scored once to buttress Olympian. Sanchez leads The Eagles on the season with nine goals.
Olympian is having a respectable season with 26 goals scored and 25 goals allowed.
In games on Friday (Jan. 20), Hilltop hosts Olympian at 3:30 p.m. while Bonita Vista hosts Mater Dei and Eastlake hosts Otay Ranch. The latter two games both start at 3 p.m.
Bonita Vista improved to 12-2-2 overall, 1-0 in league play, following its 3-0 victory at Otay Ranch. Cassie Castillo scored twice and Vanessa Davalos scored once to lead the Barons, who notched all their goals in the second half following a scoreless first-half tie.
Jennifer Ballez, Taylor Gilstrap and Castillo each picked up assists while Lauren Gonzales and Courtney Langseth each turned in 40 minutes of shutout soccer in the BVHS net.
The Barons are currently riding a seven-match unbeaten streak (5-0-2). Bonita Vista has five players who have now scored at least five goals this season. Devon Roncoroni, Kianna Brevig and Davalos each have scored six goals while Jennifer Ballez and Castillo each have scored five goals.
The Mustangs dropped to 6-6-1 overall with the loss.
Eastlake also flexed its offensive muscle with a 3-0 victory at Hilltop. The Titans entered the New Year 3-3-1 and the win over the Lancers put them over the .500 mark.
Brenna Bailey scored twice for Eastlake while Paola Ruesga also scored in the game.
Olympian matched its boys team with a win in its first Mesa League match, as the Eagles defeated Mater Dei Catholic 1-0.
Alexis Tirado scored the game’s lone goal in the first half while Yizel Castro and Nicole Encarnacion shared the shutout win.
Olympian improved to 5-7-1 while Mater Dei fell to 0-4-1.
In games on Friday (Jan. 20), Bonita Vista is at Mater Dei while Olympian hosts Hilltop and Eastlake is at Otay Ranch. All three games kick off at 3 p.m.
Wednesday’s Mesa League opener offered a rare top 10 match-up of section teams in third-ranked Mater Dei Catholic visiting the eighth-ranked Eastlake Titans. The defending league champion Crusaders one-upped the Titans in the league standings with a rather convincing 62-28 victory.
MDC (1-0 in league, 10-5 overall) led 27-10 at halftime and stormed to a 42-19 lead through three quarters. The Crusaders then doubled up the Titans by a 20-10 score in the final quarter.
Britanni Lusain led the winners with 15 points while Alexandria Young and Kandiss Barber joined her in double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Kristine Sellona had nine points for the winners while teammate Kiden Gowolo tacked on six points. Nine players total scored points in the game for Mater Dei.
Lusain had 11 rebounds in the game while Young had nine boards. The Crusaders totaled 17 steals and six blocked shots.
Eastlake had its game cooled after opening the season with a spectacular 16-1 mark. Trianna Arreola-Owen led the Titans with 13 points in the loss.
Mater Dei is ranked behind No. 1 La Jolla Country Day (16-1) and No. 2 Bishop’s (12-3). Between the Crusaders and Titans were four-ranked Mission Bay (12-4), fifth-ranked La Costa Canyon (13-3), sixth-ranked San Diego (13-4) and seventh-ranked Serra (15-2).
No. 9 Poway (13-4) and No. 10 Mt. Miguel (12-4) rounded out the top 10 rankings. Bonita Vista entered the week ranked 17th in the section.
Bonita Vista improved to 12-6 overall following Wednesday’s 70-29 win at Hilltop. The Barons broke out to a 21-7 first quarter lead and led 36-10 at halftime.
Four players reached double digits in the scoring column for the visitors: Victoria Hernandez (16 points), Audrey Cayetano (13 points) and Dionne Graham and Ashley Quidolet, both with 12 points.
The Barons totaled 25 boards and 16 steals in the game. Taylor Carter led BV with six rebounds while Quidolet had four steals.
Coleen Rasmussen paced Hilltop (0-1, 4-11) with 10 points.
Olympian made its Mesa League debut a successful one by out-pointing host Otay Ranch 63-43. Nirelle Davis, Kristina Brown and Kalybriah Haskin each scored 12 points to pace the Eagles (1-0, 8-8) while Brittany Moses tallied 10 points.
Brown led OHS with wsix rebounds and three steals.
Anna Olaogun led the Mustangs (0-1, 7-10) with 11 points.
Mesa League Standings
Bonita Vista 1-0, 12-6
Mater Dei Catholic 1-0, 10-5
Olympian 1-0, 8-8
Eastlake 0-1, 16-2
Otay Ranch 0-1, 7-10
Hilltop 0-1, 4-11
The 2011-12 Mesa League campaign appears to be a toss-up between three contending teams: Otay Ranch, Eastlake and Olympian. Two of the three met in Wednesday’s spate of league openers, with Otay Ranch recording a 45-35 victory at Olympian.
Olympian’s Ricky Jones led all players in the game with 13 points.
Eastlake and Mater Dei Catholic squared off in a match-up, with the host Titans capturing a 49-41 decision behind 19 points from Aaron Baltazar and nine points each from Travis Gardner and Adrian Tabula and eight points by Tyler Katz.
One of the more unusual match-ups of the night featured a pair of one-victory teams: 1-14 Hilltop at 1-15 Bonita Vista. The latter game featured several lead changes and was close throughout. Dejuan Owens ignited the home crowd, as well as his teammates, when he hit a three-point bomb from just inside half court as time expired in the first half.
Bontia Vista eventually emerged as a 58-56 victor.
Girls water polo
Besides the glut of soccer and basketball games on Wednesday to tip off Mesa League play, Bonita Vista and Otay Ranch squared off in a battle of early Mesa League unbeatens at the Southwestern College pool. Otay Ranch captured the lopsided contest by a score of 23-7. The teams were tied early 1-1 before the Mustangs rode a string of 11 unanswered goals en route to a 12-2 halftime lead.
Sara Medina led Otay Ranch (2-0 in league, 11-2 overall) with eight goals, nine steals and four assists while teammate Kelsey Eaton helped fuel the Mustangs' potent offense with five goals, four steals and three assists. Audrey Py contributed four goals and one assist while Mariela Rodriguez collected three goals, three steals and three assists. Tori Kelly had two goals, two steals and two assists. Bri Patricio was credited with 11 goalie saves.
Laruen Broyles keyed Bonita Vista with three goals while Kelly Micallef scored two goals and Cierra Flores and Stephanie Campbell each scored once in support of goalie Josie Fialko (eight blocks).
Flores tallied the Barons’ first goal while Micallef finally put an end to Otay Ranch’s first-half scoring rampage with a goal just before intermission.
Bonita Vista dropped to 7-7 overall, 3-1 in league play, with the loss.
The Barons defeated Mater Dei Catholic, 16-8, on Tuesday (Jan. 17) to up their league record to 3-0. Micallef had four goals against the Crusdaders while Broyles was credited with three goals.
Mater Dei Catholic remained winless in league play.
Earlier on Wednesday, Hilltop picked up its first Mesa League victory of the season by defeating Eastlake, 11-7, in a game played at the Parkway pool. Veronica Guzman led the Lancers with five goals while Brianna Conser scored twice. Netting single goals for Hilltop were Chelsea Tomlinson, Paola Vizcarra, Alejandra Rocha and Ariana Gutierrez.
Aurora Clark picked up the win with a slew of saves in the net for the Lancers.
Hilltop led 6-3 at halftime in a game that crawled at times. But both teams picked up the pace in the second half, with the Lancers extending their lead to 10-5 before the Titans put on a late rally.
Haley Spelman led Eastlake with two goals while Natsumi Watanabe, Kerry Lindsay, Hibrah Ahmed, Briana Vazquez and Mia Lam each were credited with one goal.
The victory evened the Lancers at 1-1 in league play, 6-4 overall. Eastlake dropped to 1-2 in league play.
“They were capitalizing on a couple of plays against us and we worked to shut that down (as they game went on),” HHS coach Matt Chism said.
Mesa League Standings
Otay Ranch Mustangs 2-0
Bonita Vista Barons 3-1
Hilltop Lancers 1-1
Eastlake Titans 1-2
Mater Dei Crusaders 0-3
Wednesday, Jan. 11
Eastlake 18, Mater Dei Catholic 8
Bonita Vista 13, Hilltop 12 (OT)
Friday, Jan. 13
Bonita Vista 9, Eastlake 7
Otay Ranch 22, Mater Dei Catholic 3
Tuesday, Jan. 17
Bonita Vista 16, Mater Dei Catholic 8
Wednesday, Jan. 18
Otay Ranch 23, Bonita Vista 7