Otay Ranch High School's Mesa League championship boys lacrosse team explored new territory as the 15th seed in the recently completed San Diego Section playoffs. All previous Metro qualifiers had been seeded 16th in the 16-team draw - dead last. The Mustangs made the most of their new-found respect by dropping a highly competitive 15-7 decision to second-seeded Torrey Pines.
It has to go down as the best-ever showing by a South County team in the playoffs as the conference continued to raise its standard for excellence.
Metro Player of the Year Colton Wood led Otay Ranch in scoring in the playoff game with three goals and two assists. He set a new league record with 81 goals and 21 assists his senior season.
The Mustangs trailed just 5-3 at halftime in the first-round playoff match-up against the Falcons, played on May 22.
"At halftime, we really thought we had the momentum going into the second half," Wood said. "But they got a couple of quick goals and kind of demoralized us."
Wood, who scored 200 goals in his four-year prep career at ORHS, will be attending Randolph College in Virginia in the fall with teammate Chris Songer, the Mustangs' goalie.
Wood and Songer shared co-MVP awards this year at the team's season-ending awards banquet. Wood shared last year's team MVP award with goalie Nathan Maeda.
Wood called being named the conference's player of the year "a great honor."
"The Metro league is much improved over the last four years," Wood said. "To be named player of the year in the conference's best season yet is a big deal. It feels great being on top."
Wood began playing lacrosse in the eighth grade, though somewhat reluctantly.
"I got dragged into it by a couple friends and then fell in love with the sport," he said.
Wood said his ensuing experience at ORHS has given him a new perspective of the sport as played at the competitive level.
"When I first started playing lacrosse in the eighth grade, I had only fundamental knowledge of the game," he said. "Coming into high school as a ninth grader, I was able to further develop skills and the moves I like to do. The past four years I developed a good understanding of lacrosse."
All-Metro Conference Boys Lacrosse Teams
Dakota Colantuono (Montgomery), 12
Colton Wood (Otay Ranch), 12
Ben Potter (Hilltop), 12
Andrew Klistoff (Chula Vista), 12
Zach Bannon (Eastlake), 11
Chris Songer (Otay Ranch), 12
Christian Ballow (Eastlake), 11
John Nichols (Otay Ranch), 12
Kyle Cruz (Bonita Vista), 12
Stephen Garcia (Mar Vista), 12
Jesse Denham (Bonita Vista), 12
Kris Bourbois (Otay Ranch), 12
Ellie Ruano (Montgomery), 12
Matthew Lozano (Hilltop), 12
Tyler Crestik (Chula Vista), 10
Blake Larson (Eastlake), 12
Josh Bivens (Otay Ranch), 12
Jeremy Best (Hilltop), 12
Gabe Gomez (Eastlake), 12
Jacob Dempsey (Eastlake), 11
Felipe Cardenas (Bonita Vista), 12
Rafael Lazcano (Mar Vista), 12
Player of the Year
Colton Wood (Otay Ranch)
Otay Ranch Mustangs
Metro Conference 2010 Standings
School W-L W-L
Otay Ranch 12-0 14-6
Eastlake 10-2 14-4
Bonita Vista 7-5 11-7
Hilltop 6-6 9-9
Montgomery 4-8 4-13
Chula Vista 3-9 5-13
Mar Vista 0-12 1-14