It’s a winner-take-all scenario in both the Mesa League boys and girls soccer championship races as teams prepare to take the pitch one last time in the 2012-13 season on Thursday, Feb. 14.
Hilltop is in first place in the Mesa League boys soccer standings with a 5-1-3 league record after recording a 2-2 draw at Bonita Vista on Tuesday. The Lancers lead both Otay Ranch and Mater Dei Catholic, both with 5-2-2 league records, by a slim one-point margin in the standings.
A season-ending win by Hilltop over visiting Eastlake on Thursday will hand the banner to the Lancers. However, a tie or loss makes it more problematical with both the Mustangs and Crusaders hot on their heels.
Mater Dei Catholic defeated Otay Ranch, 4-0, on Tuesday to climb back into the championship race.
Olympian, meanwhile, dropped out of title contention with a 2-1 loss at Eastlake.
The Mesa League boys soccer standings are as follows:
Hilltop 5-1-3, 18 points
Otay Ranch 5-2-2, 17 points
Mater Dei Catholic 5-2-2, 17 points
Olympian 4-4-1, 13 points
Eastlake 3-5-1, 10 points
Bonita Vista 0-7-2, 2 points
The scenario is somewhat similar in the Mesa League girls soccer championship race, though somewhat more dramatic. Eastlake will host Hilltop in the championship game on Thursday (5 p.m. kick-off), with the winner assured of leaving the field with this year’s championship banner in hand.
However, should Eastlake and Hilltop play to a tie, Eastlake would win the 2012-13 title by a one-point advantage in the league standings.
That scenario was set up Tuesday when Eastlake and Olympian tied 2-2 and Bonita Vista upset Hilltop 2-1.
The Mesa League girls soccer standings are as follows:
Eastlake 7-0-2, 23 points Hilltop 7-1-1, 22 points
Bonita Vista 6-3-0, 18 points
Otay Ranch 2-5-2, 8 points
Olympian 1-6-2, 5 points
Mater Dei Catholic 0-8-1, 1 point
League champions receive automatic entry into the San Diego Section playoffs.
Hilltop coach Rene Ortiz called Hilltop, Eastlake and Bonita Vista the premier teams in South Bay girls soccer. Few would refute that this season.
Gillian Stargensky and Blyss McCann scored goals for Eastlake in Tuesday’s draw at Olympian.
Pascale Dumesnil scored her 16th goal of the season on a first-half tap-in and Daria Magee scored on a second-half direct free kick to power Bonita Vista to a 2-nil lead.
Hilltop drew one goal back when sophomore Mary Reilly bulged twine late in the second half but an apparent goal by Maxia Espino was subsequently disallowed, putting the Lancers a point down in the standings behind the Titans heading into Thursday’s regular season finale.
The Barons, who saw fit to play a spoiler’s role, will finish in third place in the standings.
“We’re hoping to pick up some more wins to help us in the playoff seeding,” said BVHS coach Ryan Marquez, whose team improved to 15-7-1 following the win over Hilltop.
The Lancers carry a 13-4-3 record into Thursday's Mesa League championship game while the Titans are 12-1-6, with the one loss being an overtime shootout in the Premier Division championship game of the Barons Girls Soccer Tournament in December.
The CIF playoffs for girls teams kick off on Tuesday, Feb. 19. Boys team start post-season play on Wednesday, Feb. 20.
“I’ve been here since 2006 and we’ve been very successful in league play,” Hilltop's Ortiz said. “But we’ve been less successful out of league. We were in the semifinals two years ago. Our goal this year is to finish top four.”
Boys: Rigo Santana scored three goals -- all on laser-beam shots -- to lead Hilltop to a 3-1 victory against visiting Eastlake to secure the league title.
Girls: Hilltop shocked host Eastlake, 2-0, to win the league championship.