The 2010-11 high school girls water polo season is just getting under way but it looks to be a promising one for South Bay teams after the Otay Ranch Mustangs and Eastlake Titans both managed top 10 finishes in last week’s Winter Classic tournament in East County.
Otay Ranch posted an eighth-place finish to improve to 7-3 in non-league play. Eastlake finished in ninth place.
The Mustangs and Titans both rate to challenge returning champion Bonita Vista for this year’s Mesa League championship.
Otay Ranch is young with its starting team comprised of all juniors and sophomores, according to head coach Ernie Medina, whose team finished 4-1 in the Winter Classic tournament. Top returners include first team all-league selection Kelsey Eaton, second team all-league picks Sarah Medina and Mariela Rodriguez, and juniors Audrey Py, Tori Kelly and goalie Briana Patricio.
“Our team may not have the experience but it has heart,” the elder Medina said. “As always, we train to improve, play each game at our best, and plan to be competitive enough to win league and make the playoffs.”
But, as Medina pointed out, all the teams in the Mesa League are fielding competitive squads this year. Otay Ranch edged Eastlake, 10-9, to finish in eighth place at the Winter Classic. The Titans finished 3-2 in tourney play.
Sophomore Sarah Medina earned a spot on the all-tournament team as a second team selection. She led the Mustangs with 19 goals, 24 steals, six assists, 10 ejections drawn and three five-meter penalty shots earned.
Patricio was given the Otay Ranch game ball after making more than 40 saves in the tournament.
Eastlake senior Simone Banks was also named as a second team all-tournament pick.
Patrick Henry finished 5-0 to claim this year’s Winter Classic title, followed by runner-up Valhalla at 4-1. Mission Bay finished 4-1 in third place, followed by Santana in fourth at 3-2, University City in fifth at 3-2, Grossmont in sixth at 3-2, Scripps Ranch in seventh at 3-2. Canyon Crest rounded out the top 10 teams in 10th at 3-2.
Other teams in the tournament included Orange Glen, Monte Vista, Capistrano Valley Mission Viejo, Mission Hills, Del Norte, Chula Vista, Point Loma, Oceanside, Valley Center, Mt Miguel and San Dieguito Academy.
Otay Ranch teammembers included freshman Camilla Benitez, junior Alex Arambula, freshman Nanda Arambula, freshman Cailin Lechner, junior Sara Gagarin, sophomore Sarah Medina, freshman Laryssa Lucatero, junior Tori Kelly, junior Mariela Rodriguez, junior Kelsey Eaton, junior Audrey Py and junior Briana Patricio.