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When it sizzles ... Metro girls lacrosse teams make CIF her story Phillip Brents | Sat, May 17 2014 05:11 PM

During every timeout of last Tuesday’s San Diego Section Division II girls lacrosse playoff game between the visiting Otay Ranch Mustangs and Bonita Vista Barons, bystanders held umbrellas over the heads of players to shield them from the searing rays of the sun.

The second-seeded Barons ultimately proved to be the hottest team on the playing field with a 13-6 elimination victory to advance to Saturday's division semifinal match-up against the third-seeded Eastlake Titans, 11-5 winners over the visiting Ramona Bulldogs on Tuesday.

The all-Metro Conference semifinal pairing assured that a history-making event will occur in Tuesday division finals at Del Norte High School: It will mark the first time that a South County team — of either gender —will advance to the championship round in the section lacrosse playoffs.

The Barons held off a spirited comeback bid by the Titans on Saturday to claim a nerve-racking 8-7 victory to become that heralded first Metro team to play for a CIF lacrosse title.

“It's surreal and unbelievable,” noted BVHS coach Ernesto Luna. “It's all those things mixed into one. I couldn't be more proud of the girls.”

Bonita Vista (17-3) will meet top-seeded San Marcos (17-5) in the Division II championship game after the Knights eliminated fifth-seeded San Dieguito Academy, 15-7, in another semifinal on Saturday. Start-time for the division final is scheduled for 3 p.m.

“It's great for our coach – he pushed us a lot this year,” explained Baron senior Lauren Gonzales, who earned distinction as this year's Metro Conference player of the year. “It's great to know that all that hard work paid off.”

Saturday's semifinal played out much like Tuesday's quarterfinal match, at least from Bonita Vista's end.

The Barons once again got off to a strong start and had to weather a late storm cloud, though the weather was not a factor on Saturday as the hot windy Santa Ana conditions that had prevailed earlier in the week, and had played such a factor in the North County wildfires,  had finally abated.

The hosts led, 5-2, at halftime and sprinted out to a 7-2 lead early in the second half before the Titans (15-5) regrouped to outscore their opponent 5-1 down the stretch run.

Gillian Stargensky's hat trick goal with 1:10 to play in regulation narrowed Eastlake's deficit to one goal on the scoreboard. However, the Barons were successful in managing to hold possession to run out the clock.

Liz Des Enfants led Bonita Vista with four goals and two assists while Zoe Montoya scored twice and Gonzales and Melissa Miranda each scored once. Gonzales had to sit out the final five minutes of the game after accumulating a second yellow card.

Montoya's second goal of the game proved to be the game-winner after Eastlake had pulled to within 8-5 on the scoreboard with 4:32 to play. Montoya made it 8-6 with two minutes to play, and her goal proved to the necessary breathing room her team needed to hold off their league rival.

“Some of the girls we weren't counting on to lead them stepped up for them,” Titan coach Robert Blas said in complimentary fashion. “In our first league game against them, at our place, it was 7-6, we won. They're good. I'm surprised they didn't win league. But Hilltop (the 2014 league champion) is good, too.

“It took us a while to get going. There were so many distractions for the seniors, with grad night, the fires, AP testing, games being cancelled and not practicing, and then playing on a grass field, which is obviously to their (the Barons') advantage.”

Saturday's game was originally scheduled to be played last Thursday, but was moved to Friday to accommodate AP testing, and then was cancelled by the San Diego Section because of the wildfires spreading throughout North County that closed schools in that area and hindered travel to other parts of the county.

However, after canceling games on Thursday and Friday, the section office allowed athletic competition and practices to resume on Saturday.

All six of the section's girls lacrosse games were moved to Saturday, with winners in each of three divisions advancing to play in Tuesday's championship triple-header.

In other quarterfinals on Tuesday, SDA eliminated fourth-seeded Granite Hills, 8-6, while San Marcos eliminated eighth-seeded Pacific Ridge.

Baron Nation
Bonita Vista and Eastlake were meeting for the third time this season after splitting two league match-ups, with each team winning on its home field.

However, both coach said their teams were at equal disadvantage for Saturday's “rubber-game” contest because of the recent cancellations by CIF.

“After that Tuesday game, we had one practice because of things being rescheduled because of the fires,” Luna explained. “But the other team  were in the same boat. They had to deal with the same situation.”

“We weren't sure who would come out on top but we knew we definitely had to bring our A-game,” BV's Gonzales said.

Luna said he was so excited about Saturday's CIF semifinal match against the Titans that he awoke at 4:30 a.m., though the game was scheduled for a 9:30 a.m. start.

"I made sure I had everything set up for the game, so the girls could be loose and ready," the BVHS coach said. "I wanted the girls to focus on the game.

“This is the first time we have been in this position, this deep in the playoffs. Anything could have happened. It’s one game at a time — a second season. You either keep playing or you go home.”

"The first half we were running pretty well. But give credit to (Eastlake), they came back with a vengeance."

Stargensky, who earned 11 letters during her four-year varsity career as a Titan, led Eastlake with three goals in Saturday's semifinal game while teammates Alexyss McClellan, Kasidi Lujan, Kristel Mangahas and Sasha Thrower each were credited with one goal.

Metro showcase
A record total of five Metro Conference teams qualified to compete in this year's girls lacrosse playoffs, including four -- Bonita Vista, Eastlake, Otay Ranch and Mar Vista -- in the Division II bracket.

In first-round games, Otay Ranch eliminated visiting Francis Parker, 15-10, while Ramona topped visiting Mar Vista, 15-6.

Hilltop, seeded ninth, in the Division I bracket, fell by a score of 11-9 to eighth-seeded Rancho Bernardo in an opening round game. The Metro champion Lancers, with 14 wins to their credit, twice held two-goal leads in the contest.

Bonita Vista and Otay Ranch now join Hilltop and Eastlake with CIF playoff victories to their credit while Bonita Vista becomes the first Metro team to win two playoff games in one season and the first South County team to advance to a CIF championship game.

When it sizzles
With temperatures hovering near 98 degrees at face-off for Tuesday’s early afternoon Bonita Vista-Otay Ranch playoff contest, fans watched the game from beside or beneath any object that cast a shadow.

Despite the hot weather conditions, the teams combined for a flurry of goals. Bonita Vista, perhaps taking advantage of its bumpier natural grass home field, rushed out to a 7-0 lead midway through the first half. The seventh-seeded Mustangs caught fire of their own, however, and whittled the deficit on the scoreboard to 7-4 by halftime.

But the hosts would not be denied. Bonita Vista scored the opening two goals of the second half to extend its lead to 9-4 and the Baron lead would balloon to 12-5 before the Mustangs, who were riding the momentum of their first-round playoff victory against visiting Francis Parker the previous Saturday, would score their last goal of the 2014 season.

“Otay Ranch is a quality team,” Luna said. “We wanted to start fast and start strong. But to jump ahead 7-0 was really surprising.”

Gonzales (six goals, two assists) and Des Enfants (three goals, five assists) led Bonita Vista’s winning effort by each collecting eight points while Miranda collected two goals and one assist and teammates Melissa Villaflor and Boran Yoon each were credited with one goal.

Demi Greiner led Otay Ranch in scoring with two goals while Jessamae Egana, Danica Satumbaga, Cynthia Perez and Audrey Verdone each were credited with one goal.

Perez scored four goals and Amber Candelaria scored three goals in the Mustangs’ first-round playoff win.

“We’re out of CIF now but I’m so proud of the progress we made,” ORHS coach Mary Cory said. “The girls have so much endurance and drive to do better next year. We made it to the second round this year; our goal will be to make it to the third round next year.”

Titan-ic win
Eastlake asserted itself from the onset in Tuesday’s elimination win over the Bulldogs by taking a commanding 6-1 halftime lead. The playoff win had to make up somewhat for the Titans’ 8-2 loss to Hilltop in this year’s league championship game.

“We were ready to play today,” Blas noted. “Being our last home game was a special treat for my seniors.”

Ramona scored just 52 seconds into the game on a strike by senior Kelsey Nowakowski but Eastlake countered with two goals by senior captain McClellan as the Titans took the lead.

McCllellan led Eastlake with six goals while senior Jacky Ponce and junior Lujan each had two goals and junior goalie Mariel Sabado made six saves.

Nowakowski led the Bulldogs (10-13) with three goals.

“Alexyss McClellan really shined as she scored when we need that extra push,” Blas noted. “I’m so proud of her and the entire team’s play.”


Division I
Tuesday, May 20

(8) Eastlake 13, (9) Canyon Crest Academy 3
Eastlake (15-3) plat at (1) Pacific Ridge (11-4) in quarterfinals on Friday, May 23, 4 p.m.

Division II
Wednesday, May 21

(8) Fallbrook 6, (9) Bonita Vista 4

(5) Valhalla 15, (12) Montgomery 3

(6) Olympian 15, (11) El Capitan 6
Olympian plays at (3) Mt. Carmel (11-6) on Friday, May 23, 6 p.m.


Open Division
First Round
Wednesday, May 21

 (3) Bonita Vista 9, (6) Torrey Pines 2

(3) Bonita Vista (17-5) plays at (2) Carlsbad (16-4) on Saturday, May 24, TBA

Third round:
May 27, 3:30 p.m. (site of higher-seeded team)
Fourth round: May 29, 5 p.m. at Santee Sportsplex
Fifth round: May 29, 7:30 p.m. at Santee Sportsplex (if necessary)
Championship game: May 31, 7 p.m. at UC San Diego


Division I
First Round
Thursday, May 22

(2) Otay Ranch (19-9) 7,(10) Fallbrook 6
Otay Ranch (20-9) will host (3) Mt. Carmel (14-5) on Saturday, May 24, TBA

Second round: May 24
Third round: May 27
Semifinals: May 29 at Santee Sportsplex
Championship game: May 31, 4:30 p.m. at UC San Diego


Division II
First Round
Thursday, May 22

(9) San Pasqual (5, (1) Eastlake 1
Eastlake drops to elimination bracket

(3) Mater Dei Catholic 9, (6) Southwest El Centro 1
Mater Dei Catholic (15-11) will play at (2) Patrick Henry (24-6) on Saturday, May 24, 10 a.m.

Second round: May 24
Third round: May 27
Semifinals: May 29 at Santee Sportsplex
Championship game: May 31, 2 p.m. at UC San Diego


Division III
Play-in Round

Tuesday, May 20
(9) Serra 2,(8) Sweetwater 0
(9) Serra (13-12) plays at (1) Hilltop in Thursday's first round. Hilltop wins 11-6, advances to second round

(6) Chula Vista 17, at (11) Montgomery 14
Chula Vista (15-10) plays at (3) Vista (12-5) in Thursday's first round. Chula Vista drops to elimination bracket with 11-1 loss to Vista

First Round
Thursday, May 22

(1) Hilltop (18-9) will host (9) Serra (13-12), 3:30 p.m.

Second round: May 24
Third round: May 27
Semifinals: May 29 at Poway Sportsplex
Championship game: May 31, 11:30 a.m. at UC San Diego


Division V
First Round
Wednesday, May 21

(1) Southwest 3, (8) Borrego Springs 1
Southwest (12-7) hosts (4) Foothills Christian (11-5) in Saturday's second round, 1 p.m.

Third round: May 27, 3:30 p.m. (site of higher-seeded team)
Fourth round: May 29, 11 a.m. at Poway Sportsplex
Fifth round: May 29, 1:15p.m. at Poway Sportsplex (if necessary)
Championship game: May 30, 5:30 p.m. at UC San Diego



Open Division
First round
Tuesday, May 20

(5) Otay Ranch (26-11) at (4) Westview (22-9), 7 p.m. Westview wins 3-1
(7) Eastlake (15-15) at (2) Torrey Pines (23-5), 7 p.m. Torrey Pines wins

Semifinals: Thursday, May 22
Championship game:
May 24, 5 p.m. at Cathedral Catholic High School


Division I
First Round
Wednesday, May 21

San Marcos defeated Montgomery 25-20, 25-20, 25-27, 25-15


Division II
First round
Saturday, May 17

(12) El Camino defeated (5) Hilltop 25-22, 25-18, 25-14  

Tuesday, May 20

(9) Olympian (12-15) at (1) Escondido (24-10), 7 p.m. Escondido wins 3-0

Semifinals: Thursday, May 22
Championship game:
May 24, 1 p.m. at  Cathedral Catholic High School

Division III
Monday, May 19

(1) Bonita Vista defeated (9) Escondido Adventist 25-16, 24-26, 25-15, 25-14
(2) Sweetwater defeated (10) San Diego 25-21, 26-24, 25-20

Wednesday, May 21
(5) Hoover (17-3) at (1) Bonita Vista (18-9), 7 p.m. Bonita Vista wins 3-1
(3) Santana (15-10) at (2) Sweetwater (17-15), 7 p.m. Santana wins 3-0

Championship game: Friday, May 23, 7 p.m. at Canyon Crest Academy
Match-up: (1) Bonita Vista (19-10) vs. (3) Santana (16-10)


Division IV
(5) Horizon Christian (6-8) at (4) Southwest (8-7), 7 p.m. Horizon Christian wins, advances to championship game

Semifinals: Wednesday, May 21
Championship game: Friday, May 23, 5 p.m. at Canyon Crest Academy





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