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One step beyond: Hilltop Lancers pick up history-making first CIF lacrosse playoff win Phillip Brents | Tue, May 22 2012 03:52 PM

Leave it to the Hilltop Lancers to record the defining moment in the decade-long history of Metro Conference lacrosse.

By virtue of their 10-4 victory against visiting Carlsbad on May 10, the Lancers became the first Metro team to record a victory in the San Diego Section playoffs — boys and girls lacrosse combined.

Lacrosse became a CIF sport in 2002 (2009 for girls lacrosse in Metro). Over that span, no local squad had managed to collect that coveted first playoff victory.

“Words can’t express how ecstatic we are about the win!” Hilltop coach Sasha Scott exclaimed. “It was an awesome game — to be the first Metro team to win a CIF playoff game is absolutely incredible!”

The Lancers received the No. 10 seed in the Division I bracket based on their 21-1 regular season record. As a league champion, they received the right to host a first-round playoff match. Their opponent turned out to be the seventh-seeded Carlsbad Lancers.

The local Lancers made a statement for both their program and the conference by taking a 7-1 halftime lead.

“We got off to a strong start in the first half due to winning draw control 85 percent of the time,” the HHS coach said. “We scored four goals in the first 10 minutes of the half and held them scoreless until they scored with seven minutes left in the half. That was a great boost for our confidence!”

The teams fought to a 3-3 stalemate in the second half.

“(In the) second half, we started off a little sluggish defensively and allowed them to score two quick goals in the first three minutes,” Scott said. “But then we tightened up our defense and they only scored one more goal for the remainder of the game.”

Nicci Coyle keyed Hilltop’s history-making win by scoring three goals and registering six ground balls, one interception and four takeaways.

Kasey Simonds scored two goals and had three takeaways while Hannah Teague dominated on the draw circle and chipped in with two goals.

Aurora Clark contributed two goals and one assist while Laurel Coleman had one goal and one assist and goalkeeper Angelica Delgado saved eight out of the 12 shots taken by Carlsbad.

Scott underscored the significance of the playoff victory in the Lancers’ first-ever post-season appearance.

“It means so much — not only to the players, the parents, the fans, the school, the lacrosse program, and me, but it also means a lot for the league!” the HHS coach said. “We’ve had to work really hard to earn a name for ourselves in the sport of lacrosse because North County schools have always dominated the sport. As a result, the Metro schools don’t get much credit, which is a shame and a disservice to the sport because we have some really great players down here.

“So I’m definitely so proud of the girls and how hard they worked for the win because it definitely sent a message to the North County schools that we earned this and Metro teams can’t be overlooked anymore.”

Scott called the team’s 2012 season one of unparalleled success. She said the secret for her team was simply not to be satisfied.

“This team has come so far and they continue to amaze me every game,” the Lancer coach said. “I’m hard on them and I set high expectations because I know they can achieve them.

“(The day before the first playoff game) we had a team meeting and everyone wrote down their goals for playoffs and they were all refocused on the prize,” Scott said. “Sure enough, on Thursday when they stepped on that field, they were hungry, they had heart and they had passion.”

Hilltop’s record-breaking season ended with an 11-5 loss to second-seeded Scripps Ranch in last Saturday’s quarterfinals. The Lancers finished 22-2 overall.

 “The win (over Carlsbad) definitely gave the girls the little boost they needed to realize that we can compete with the North County schools and we are a force to be reckoned with,” Scott said. “We headed to Scripps Ranch with our heads held high and ready to work hard from the first whistle to the last.”

The standard has clearly been set.

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