Dylan Chase was a wide-eyed freshman when Eastlake High's boys water polo team out-dueled perennial champion Bonita Vista, 6-4 in overtime, in 2008 in what may go down as the greatest game ever played between two Metro Conference opponents since league play resumed in the Sweetwater district in 1987. The Titan win officially ended the Barons' San Diego Section-record league championship streak at 21 seasons.
Eastlake’s dramatic OT victory gave the school its first-ever league championship in the sport — and something for Chase and his freshman teammates to strive for.
As a sophomore, Chase was a part of the EHS varsity team’s second consecutive league championship team and, now as a junior, he wants more.
“Definitely (coming to varsity last year), I wanted to keep the championship tradition going,” said Chase, who scored three goals in Tuesday’s 14-1 victory against Chula Vista in the rain and mist at Southwestern College. “This year, we hope to win the Mesa championship again and also win our first-round playoff game to be the first team at Eastlake to do that.”
Eastlake, which is looking to secure its third consecutive league title, improved to 10-8 overall following Tuesday’s win, 1-0 in Mesa League.
The Titans led 5-1 after the first quarter, 9-1 at halftime and 13-1 entering the final quarter.
Adam Hilborn keyed Eastlake with five goals while Josh Alvarez and Mike Tong each scored two goals and Daniel Lord and Kevin Cochrane each scored once.
Rhett McGinty played the whole game in the cage, making seven saves.
The Spartans’ lone goal may have been one of the most artistic of the damp night. With seconds ticking down in the first quarter, CV goalie Lorenzo Ledesma sent a high arcing lob shot the length of the pool, with McGinty getting the tips of his fingers on the ball but not enough to push the shot wide as it deflected into the corner of the cage.
The loss dropped the Spartans, under fist-year coach Josh Saewitz, to 4-9 on the season, 0-1 in Mesa League play.
Saewitz played at Bonita Vista from 1990-92 during the heyday of the Barons’ championship run. His goals at CVHS remain more modest, at least for now.
“We’d like to be a .500 team and, with 11 games left in the season, we still have a chance for that,” he said.
The San Diego Open tournament will dominate play this weekend, with participating teams each playing five games.
Hilltop 9, Mar Vista 5
Winning water polo games at Mar Vista High School has become a bugaboo in recent years for the Hilltop Lancers, who finally snapped the hex with a key South Bay League victory on Oct. 14. Luis Ontiveros led Hilltop with three goals while Juan Ontiveros and Rodrigo Perez each scored twice and Tanner Franklin and Miko Hernandez each scored once.
Netminders Kevin Moran and Jorge Lizarraga combined for six saves as the Lancers improved to 4-0 in league play.
“It’s the first time in four years we’ve won at that pool,” said HHS coach John Salts, whose team held a narrow 4-3 lead at halftime. “I’m proud of the guys but we didn’t play with same kind of consistency we had been playing with the last two weeks.”
Thomas Castillo paced the Mariners with two goals. Three other players each scored one goal.