The Bonita Vista High School girls field hockey team captured last year’s Metro Conference championship, but with just three varsity returners, Baron coach Ernesto Luna sees this year’s title chase wide open for anyone.
“We had 13 seniors last year, so this is a rebuilding year for us,” Luna said. “Hopefully, we can stay competitive. But everyone in the league is so close to each other that I think anyone can take it.
“It’s wide open. We’ll have to see how we compare to the other teams in our league in our non-league games.”
Top returners include senior forward Evelyn Martinez and junior midfielders Zoe Montoya and Sabrina Gonzalez.
All three veterans said they are looking forward to helping ease the team’s younger players into this year’s varsity line-up.
Gonzalez called it an “honor” to be able to help bring up the next generation of Barons.
Luna expects junior sweeper Miranda Peters and senior goalkeeper Hershey Guzman to both be impact newcomers.
“We’re looking toward the future,” the BVHS coach said.
The race is on
The Otay Ranch Mustangs and Hilltop Lancers shared second place in last year’s league standings. Both teams have eyes on finishing in first place this season.
Otay Ranch is led this season by senior Kassandra Becerra, a first team all-league pick, scholar-athlete honoree and the team’s MVP in 2011.
She notched the game-winning goal in a 1-0 overtime victory against Escondido on Sept. 11.
Mustang coach Brianne Martinez lists a pair of newcomers to the varsity lineup who both expect to make an impact: juniors Danica Satumbaga and Angela Delos Santos.
Satumbaga is up from last year’s junior varsity team and is expected to add to the team’s offensive production while Martinez calls Delos Santos, a newcomer, a “skilled player with a natural talent for the game.”
Otay Ranch qualified for last year’s section playoffs as an at-large team and Martinez said the team’s outlook for this season “looks promising.”
“The players will face opponents of a high caliber but are ready to rise to the occasion as they did last year with finishing 10th overall after facing seventh-seeded Torrey Pines in the CIF playoffs,” the Mustang coach said. “Otay Ranch finished second in the league during the 2011 season. The team has set its sights on winning the league this coming season.”
The Lancers may have something to say about that.
Eight of Hilltop’s 11 starters are returners, making the Lancers an immediate contender for the league title.
“The teams should be balanced, league should be up for grabs,” HHS coach Rita Delgadillo Parrish said.
Delgadillo Parrish listed experience as the Lancers’ primary strength this season. All this year’s team captains — seniors Jalissa Pressley (left defense), Laurel Coleman (left forward) and Emily King (left midfield) — are three-year varsity returners.
Junior center-midfielder Kasey Simonds is another three-time varsity performer, earing all-league honors last season.
Coleman was another all-league selection.
Impact newcomers include sophomores Yasmine Ortega (center defense), Michaela Murphy (right midfield) and Natalie Coyle (right forward) and senior goalie Marcy Corona.
“We’re looking to win back the banner outright,” Delgadillo Parrish said.
Chasing Otay Ranch and Hilltop for a top three finish will be the Eastlake Titans.
Top returners include senior goalkeeper Sahar Aminzai, junior forward Gillian Stargensky, senior midfielder Noraliza Morales, senior defender Haley Watkins and senior forward Yvonne Apodaca.
Aminzai, Morales, Watkins and Apodaca all serve as team captains. Aminzai is a four-year varsity starter while Morales and Apodaca are both entering their third year of varsity play. Watkins has two years of varsity experience while Stargensky is a third-year varsity performer.
Junior defender Megan Coble, up from last year’s JV squad, is the team’s impact newcomer, according to Blas.
With seven starters returning from last year’s 5-8-1 team (2-6 in league play), Blas believes the 2012 Titan team has matured enough to contend for this year’s league championship.
Chula Vista coach Ben Villanueva believes his team has room to improve this season. The Spartans played last year’s league champion, Bonita Vista, tough in its final round Metro match-up, losing just 1-0.
“All teams are rebuilding,” Villaneuva said. “ We are coming off a fourth place finish and are hoping to do even better this year.”
Top returners include seniors Lindsey Bull, Valeria Aparicio, Michelle Gallegos, Arantxa Ortiz, Paulina Avalos and Briana Casillas (goalie)
Impact newcomers include Monserate Meza and Katia Romero, both up from last year’s JV team, and freshman Celeste Garcia.