The 2012-13 CIF-Metro Conference rolled to a regular season close with two games at Castle Park High School on Feb. 14.
In the two games on Valentine’s Day, the Southwest Raiders recorded a milestone 5-4 victory against the Hilltop Lancers while the Bonita Vista Barons snapped a 16-game losing streak by topping the Mar Vista Mariners 6-1.
The Raiders’ win over the Lancers was the first-ever in school history, which now comprises 13 seasons in the CIF-Metro Conference. Southwest coach Jerry Nestlerode acknowledged the watershed victory, reflecting on the team’s slow but steady progress. “It took me six years to get my first winning season,” said Nestlerode, whose team skated to a 14-6 regular season finish in 2012-13 and won its second consecutive South Bay League championship title.
Nestlerode was named the 2011-12 CIF-Metro Conference Coach of the Year in leading the Raiders to a 17-3 regular season finish and first-ever trip to the Kiwanis Cup playoffs.
Bonita Vista had been outscored 206-26 entering its final game of 2012-13. The Barons began the season with a 19-2 loss to Otay Ranch on Dec. 4 and lost its second game, 18-3, to Eastlake one week later. The Barons topped Mar Vista, 9-3, on Dec. 20 behind nine goals by team scoring leader Jon O’Brien. That would be the last time O’Brien would suit up for Bonita Vista that season. What followed were four blowout losses to face off the New Year: 18-0 to Hilltop, 15-0 to Otay Ranch, 11-0 to Sweetwater and 14-0 to Eastlake.
But coach Keith Quigley’s team regrouped and didn’t give up. The losses continued to pile up but by more respectable scores: 8-1 to Chula Vista, 11-3 to Castle Park, 8-1 to Hilltop and 6-1 to Southwest.
Then things began to unravel a bit after losses to Otay Ranch (15-1), Chula Vista (12-1), Mar Vista (5-0), Eastlake (13-0) and Castle Park (8-2).
The Barons dropped a second game to Mar Vista (4-0) and were shut out by Hilltop (11-0) to close out Mesa League play 0-9. A 7-2 loss to Chula Vista ensued and, when standout goaltender Miranda Peters was knocked from the team’s final regular season game due to a concussion, it appeared as if Bonita Vista might close out a 1-19 season.
But fate smiled on the Barons: Mar Vista also was without its starting goaltender and top scorers Billy Warren and David Jacob.
The Mariners fielded an iron man squad for the regular season finale while Bonita Vista suited up defender Hawk Anderson in the goalie gear (Evan Lovstrom got the assignment for Mar Vista).
Anderson played the game of his life, making a dozen saves, and the Barons overcame a 1-0 deficit on Austin Hoffman’s first period goal to rattle off six unanswered tallies, including five in the second period, to skate to a well-deserved 6-1 non-league victory.
In an amusing moment, Anderson began skating to the bench as the final buzzer sounded but quickly caught sight of an onrushing horde of teammates ready to mob him in celebration. He took a couple of steps backward before finally heeding this teammates’ pleas and a massive post-game celebration ensued.
Giancarlo Dongo led Bonita Vista with five goals and one assist while Carla Altomare scored once and Avori Schenck contributed two assists. Thomas Giltner and Michelle Dunnells also picked up one assist each.
Dongo and Gilner had plenty to sing and dance about after the game: both are members of the school’s internationally acclaimed Music Machine show choir.
Quigley, who has coached the team since its inception, was understandably elated by the outcome.
“It was a long time coming!” Quigley gushed. "Before the game I told my team that I’ve told them everything I can this season about playing the game of hockey, so tonight I was going to keep it real simple for our last game. I have three keys to the game on three index cards. So I read each index card and as the story goes ... it worked ...we won!
"It was a real emotional win for everyone, including myself, after losing 16 games in a row. I was thrilled for my players. They’ve worked hard all season and never gave up. It’s pretty easy to give up on things when you’ve lost so many games in a row. Hawk did an amazing job in goal filling in for our injured goalie Miranda, who has been a real team leader all season.
All the players simply gave it their all."
Mesa League co-champion Otay Ranch finishers regular season play with a 9-2 non-league loss to Central League champion West Hills in a game played Feb. 15 at the Escondido Sports Center.
West Hills, which finished second in the Kiwanis Cup playoffs two seasons ago and was third last year, rolled to its 12th consecutive win this season by rolling out to a 6-0 edge over the Mustangs. Six players recorded points for the victorious Wolf Pack: Cody Boyer (three goals, one assist), Ryan Vanoni (two goals, two assists), Brad Majeski (two goals), Ryden Kerr (two assists), Zach Peters (one goals) and David Baldwin (one goal).
Cole Beatie scored both goals for Otay Ranch.
(Final Regular Season)
x-West Hills Wolf Pack 7-1-1
Cathedral Catholic Dons 6-2-1
La Jolla Country Day Torreys 2-6-1
St. Augustine Saints 1-7-1
North County League
x-Rancho Bernardo Broncos 12-0
Poway Titans 8-4
Westview Wolverines 5-6-1
Del Norte Nighthawks 4-8
Scripps Ranch Falcons 1-10-1
x-Otay Ranch 7-2
x-Eastlake Titans 7-2
Hilltop Lancers 4-5
Bonita Vista Barons 0-9
South Bay League
x-Southwest Raiders 12-0
Sweetwater Red Devils 9-3
Castle Park Trojans 5-7
Chula Vista Spartans 3-9
Mar Vista Mariners 1-11
(Final Regular Season)
Rancho Bernardo Broncos 19-1
West Hills Wolf Pack 14-3-1
Eastlake Titans 14-6
Southwest Raiders 14-6
Otay Ranch Mustangs 12-5-1
Hilltop Lancers 11-7
Sweetwater Red Devils 11-6
Cathedral Catholic Dons 11-5-1
Poway Titans 9-8
Westview Wolverines 9-9-1
Castle Park Trojans 7-12
La Jolla Country Day Torreys 6-10-1
Del Norte Nighthawks 6-10
Chula Vista Spartans 6-12
St. Augustine Saints 5-13-1
Scripps Ranch Falcons 3-14-2
Mar Vista Mariners 3-17
Bonita Vista Barons 2-18
CIF-Metro Conference Scoring Leaders
(Final Regular Season)
Aaron Mayer (Eastlake) 62 goals, 38 assists, 100 points
George Godinez (Hilltop) 63 goals, 31 assists, 94 points
Angel Rocha (Southwest) 66 goals 14 assists, 80 points
Spencer Ridout (Rancho Bernardo) 49 goals, 27 assists, 76 points
Michael Leone (Cathedral Catholic) 54 goals, 18 assists, 72 points
David Baldwin (West Hills) 41 goals, 29 assists, 70 points
Michael Mechling (Eastlake) 33 goals, 28 assists, 61 points
Juan Luna (Castle Park) 50 goals, 10 assists, 60 points
Ryan Vanoni (West Hills) 37 goals, 20 assists, 57 points
Ricky Lawson (Sweetwater) 37 goals, 17 assists, 54 points
Eric Wright (Poway) 32 goals, 19 assists, 51 points
Mauricio Estrada (Sweetwater) 45 goals, 5 assists, 50 points
Zach Peters (West Hills) 28 goals, 22 assists, 50 points
Adrian Guerrero (Sweetwater) 21 goals, 29 assists, 50 points
Geoff Sagara (Rancho Bernardo) 26 goals, 22 assists, 48 points
Nick Tesner (Hilltop) 30 goals, 17 assists, 47 points
Brad Majeski (West Hills) 30 goals, 16 assists, 46 points
Matt Mendez (Otay Ranch) 26 goals, 20 assists, 46 points
Morgan Spangler (Chula Vista) 33 goals, 10 assists, 43 points
Nick Sciabarra (Cathedral Catholic) 29 goals, 14 assists, 43 points
Griffin Dibble (Westview) 21 goals, 22 assists, 43 points