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Mustangs claim emotional 9-8 OT boys lacrosse win over Titans Phillip Brents | Tue, Mar 29 2011 10:12 PM

The Eastlake-Otay Ranch boys lacrosse rivalry has come to define top billing in the Metro Conference in recent years and it has gotten even more intense now that former Titan coach Doug Murphy is coaching the Mustangs.

Murphy went up 1-0 on current Eastlake mentor Nestor Rosas (an assistant during Murphy’s tenure at EHS from 2003 to 2008) after last Friday’s miracle finish 9-8 overtime victory.

Trailing by two goals with time winding down, the host Mustangs drew to within a goal with 39 seconds to play and then tied the game on Kristopher Holland’s daring run up the middle with 15 seconds left.

Franz Hahn then gave Otay Ranch the almost improbable victory by scoring on a man-up opportunity with 1:16 left in the four-minute sudden-victory overtime period.

“We had worked too hard the whole game to let it slip away from us,” Hahn said. “We just needed to make the right pass and get the right shot. We knew it would eventually come for us if we kept working hard. We were down two goals and during a timeout we talked about having a miracle finish and that’s just what happened.”

Murphy, while obviously elated about the dramatic come-from-behind victory, admitted he had mixed emotions about beating his former team.

“This was probably the most emotional game I have ever coached because I knew so many people on both teams,” he said.

The game carried great meaning to many on the field. Afterward, several Titans came over to give their former coach a hug. One EHS player left the field in tears.

“Our goal this season, as  every season, is to win the Metro banner and make it to the playoffs but (with two minutes left in the game) I didn’t think that was going to be possible,” Murphy said matter of factly. “It looked like Eastlake had put up a road block.”

The spirited match-up featured several lead changes. The Titans went up 3-1 at the start only to have the hosts edge in front, 4-3, at halftime. Eastlake then put on a burst in the waning minutes. Christian Ballow tied the game at 6-6 before teammate Zach Bannon scored with 4:48 remaining to push the visitors in front 7-6. Ballow followed just 29 seconds later with a goal to give the Titans an 8-6 lead.

A series of timeouts followed, called mainly by Eastlake in an effort to maintain possession in the Otay Ranch defensive end.

But the visitors could not finish off their opponent when they had the chance.

Rosas, who spent time reminiscing with Murphy after the game, was obviously frustrated by the late turn of events.

“We were up by two goals (but) we couldn’t keep possession,” he said flatly.

Murphy said it was a case of his offensive unit finally seizing the moment.

“The whole game our defense had played well — I couldn’t ask anything more out of them,” the ORHS coach said. “Our offense just wasn’t connecting. We shot 50 times at their goal. We either hit the post, hit their goalie on every body part or just missed. I told the team it was up to the offense to finally come through. It was on them to win the game.”

The Mustangs did score on five man-up situations, which helped fuel their electrifying comeback.

Hahn, Holland and Robby Sills each scored twice for Otay Ranch while Austin Kernes, A.J. Fialkowski and Alex Soto each scored single goals in support of goalie Patrick Flinn (nine saves). Sills also had two assists while Hahn and Holland each were credited with one assist.

Last Friday’s win boosted Otay Ranch to a 2-0 league start following a 21-1 victory against Mar Vista on March 14. In that game, Fialkowski led the Mustangs with three goals and four assists while Hahn had four goals and one assist and Soto scored three times.

Ballow led Eastlake with four goals in the loss while Bannon had two goals and one assist and Omar Elazal scored twice. Joseph Leonor was credited with 10 goalie saves.

The Titans dropped to 3-2 with the setback after concluding a highly productive tour of the Grossmont Conference with victories against El Capitan (13-11 on March 3), Monte Vista (19-11 on March 10) and Valhalla (14-5 on March 15).

For updates, visit the Web site at www.laxpower.com.

Boys Lacrosse Scoreboard

Tuesday, March 22
Granite Hills 8, Otay Ranch 7

Monday, March 21
Bonita Vista 13, Chula Vista 1
Hilltop 6, Mar Vista 5
Eastlake 19, Montgomery 3

Saturday, March 19

Preuss 17, Montgomery 0
Francis Parker 10, Bonita Vista 4

Friday, March 18

Otay Ranch 9, Eastlake 8 (OT)
Monte Vista 8, Hilltop 7

Thursday, March 17
Mar Vista 16, Montgomery 1
Hilltop 10, Chula Vista 1
Granite Hills 14, Bonita Vista 0

Wednesday, March 16
St. Augustine 14, Chula Vista 1

Tuesday, March 15
Eastlake 14, Valhalla 5
Foothills Christian 12, Chula Vista 6
Preuss 17, Hilltop 6

Monday, March 14

Otay Ranch 21, Mar Vista 1
Monte Vista 11, Bonita Vista 8

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Martha Soto Says:

Tue, Apr 05 2011 05:25 PM

Thank you so very much for including an article about our LAX boys and their game! And to top it off, such a positive one! I accidentally stumbled upon this article and completely forgot what I was searching for! Just so happy that our boys are getting such positive attention! They're really working hard after school hours and this sort of thing just makes a great difference! THANK YOU!
A proud mom
Alex Soto #00 :)

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