Hilltop tops Bonita Vista, 11-2, in roller hockey to take Mesa League lead


Hilltop’s Four Horsemen, from left, Jacob Phillips, Trevor Fune, Isaiah Macias and Justin Sanchez flank goaltender Jacob Lopez. Photo by Phillip Brents

The CIF-Metro Conference high school roller hockey season has reached the midpoint of its 2019-20 season and several teams have managed to rise to the top of their respective league standings in an otherwise exceptionally competitive season.

Hilltop and Bonita Vista entered Tuesday’s pairing at the Castle Park High School rink tied for the Mesa League lead with 6-1 league records. Hilltop won, 11-2, to take over sole possession of the five-team loop that also includes Eastlake, Otay Ranch and Castle Park high schools.

Chula Vista defeated west side rival Sweetwater, 6-5, in an exciting overtime contest on Jan. 23 to open a three-game lead on the Red Devils in the South Bay League standings. League members also include San Ysidro, Mar Vista and Southwest high schools.

The North County League includes seven teams. The top five teams — Scripps Ranch, Westview, Rancho Bernardo, Poway and Escondido Charter — have each exchanged wins to create a tight grouping in the race for the championship banner.

Senior Trevor Fune has paced the Hilltop Lancers to the top of the Mesa League standings this season. Photo by Phillip Brents

Green machine
Hilltop suffered an early season loss to defending Mesa League co-champion Eastlake while Bonita Vista, which captured a dramatic come-from-behind 9-8 win over Eastlake to face off league play, entered Tuesday’s game with a 7-0 loss to the Lancers in the teams’ second-round matchup on Jan. 13.

Hilltop, which shared last year’s league title with the Titans, appears to have made itself the favorite to beat this season after topping the much- improved Barons for a second time in league play.

The teams have one more league matchup remaining in regular season play, which concludes Feb. 13.

“Last year we were close and this year I knew we had a strong team,” Hilltop head coach Paul Tesner said. “I knew we had a good chance, that this would be our year. We have seven seniors who have played together for four years. This team has come together.”

Team scoring leader Trevor Fune led the way in Tuesday’s victory with five goals and one assist. He set the tone by scoring just four seconds into the game after winning the opening face-off and driving toward the net.

The Lancers set the pace in the contest by skating to a 5-0 first period lead.

“We knew what we wanted to do, which was to come out fast, and they did it,” the Hilltop coach said.

Hilltop has excelled defensively as well as offensively this season. Photo by Phillip Brents

Fellow seniors Isaiah Macias and Justin Sanchez combined for four goals while junior newcomer Jacob Phillips collected one goal and two assists.

Alexis Samaniego rounded out Hilltop’s scoring.

Goaltender Jacob Lopez earned one of the three stars of the game with a solid performance between the pipes.

Lopez trades off with teammate Victor Guzman in the net.

Fune, Macias, Sanchez and Phillips comprise Hilltop’s Four Horsemen. Tesner believes the quartet is a hard one to match among district teams.

Nine different players scored goals for Hilltop in a 15-0 non-league win over Southwest on Jan. 22 — three by Macias, two by Phillips, two by Anthony Alvarez, two by Kory Babiarz, two by Nathalie Pena and one each by Fune, Sanchez, Nicholas Sandoval and Carson Oliver.

Hilltop’s three stars in the Jan. 13 win over Bonita Vista included Isaiah Macias (four goals), Fune (three goals, one assist) and Guzman (goaltender shutout). Fune scored two shorthanded goals to lift the Lancer offense.

“We went out there with a purpose,” Tesner said.

Bonita Vista sophomore Maxwell Anderson is challenging for the scoring lead among Sweetwater district teams in 2019-20. Photos by Phillip Brents

Sophomore standout Maxwell Anderson scored both goals for Bonita Vista in Tuesday’s setback.

Anderson and goaltender Faith Sunga have helped spearhead the success of this season’s Baron team.

Anderson, an ice hockey veteran playing his first season of scholastic inline hockey, has racked up 51 goals and 20 assists in 13 games.

He collected five goals and three assists in a 9-2 win over Castle Park on Jan. 22 as the Barons pulled into a tie with Hilltop for the Mesa League lead.

Eastlake’s hopes of a championship repeat have dimmed following two losses to Bonita Vista in league play besides a 10-2 setback to Hilltop in the teams’ latest encounter on Jan. 14.

The Barons rolled past the Titans, 12-5, on Jan. 16 to win the teams’ season series — a feat not accomplished in several years.

Bonita Vista High School is experiencing a revival season in 2019-20. Photos by Phillip Brents

Bonita Vista is enjoying a robust revival season with a 10-3 overall record.

“It was a tough loss to Hilltop on Tuesday,” said BVHS head coach Keith Quigley, whose team bounced back with a 9-1 non-league victory against San Ysidro on Wednesday. “I didn’t feel like the team played its best but not to take anything away from Hilltop because they are a well-balanced team and they came ready to play.

“Overall, we’re very happy with the success so far this season. At least four or five games are left. We hope to continue this success and receive a playoff spot.”

Anderson tallied three goals and three assists in Wednesday’s game while teammate Alvaro Ruiz chipped in with two goals and one assist.

Goaltender Faith Sunga notched 39 saves in the loss to Hilltop.

The Eastlake Titans remain one of the top roller hockey teams in the Sweetwater district in 2019-20. Photo by Phillip Brents

Following the departure of superstar Braden Mayer to play tier ice hockey in Michigan, the Titans have started to regroup on the court as evidenced by Tuesday’s 17-1 Mesa League win over Castle Park. It was Eastlake’s best overall showing in 2020.

Gavin Gementera led the Eastlake offensive onslaught with five goals and nine assists while Kevin Eagles chipped in with four goals and three assists. Alexander Harris had a single-game career high with one goal and four assists.

Blanca McCormick recorded a hat trick while four other players — Harley Bradley, Brendan Scharmann, Mason Sedlacek and Blane Buckhannan — scored single goals in the Titanic victory.

Mayer had potted 24 goals and 16 assists for 40 points in five games to start his senior season.

Gementera collected three goals and two assists and Scharmann potted three goals in a 7-4 win over east side rival Otay Ranch on Jan. 23. The Titans rallied from 2-1 deficit through two periods with six third-period goals.

The Chula Vista Spartans remained on top of the South Bay league standings following their recent overtime win over west side arch rival Sweetwater.

Big blue
Chula Vista suffered early season non-league losses to Eastlake (13-2 on Dec. 3) and Bonita Vista (6-4 on Dec. 11) but has gone undefeated in its last 10 games while piling up an 8-0 league record.

The Spartans rolled past Otay Ranch, 8-2, in a non-league game on Wednesday to improve its overall record to 10-2.

Chula Vista defeated Sweetwater, 7-4, on Jan. 13 in the teams’ first league meeting. Their second matchup was much closer.

The Spartans started the game with a fast pace, zipping to a 3-0 lead at the end of the first period. But the Red Devils scored the final two goals in regulation by Jace Lim to send the game into the three-on-three sudden-victory five-minute overtime period.

The Spartans have used timely goals to buttress their current 10-game winning streak. Photos by Phillip Brents

Sweetwater appeared to have the momentum as the teams headed into the extra period. But Chula Vista goaltender Rafa Garibay came up with two big stops to direct traffic to the opposite end of the rink each time.

Lucio Gutierrez, who had ended regulation with three goals and one assist, took a shot on a partial breakaway but SuHi goaltender Carolina Negrete made the initial save. Sylvia Barba, however, was following up on the play and tipped in the rebound for the game-winner with 2:28 to play in overtime.

Gutierrez hugged Barba after the game-winning goal as the pair danced to center circle to celebrate the thrilling victory.

Gutierrez finished the game with three goals and two assists while teammate Adrian Hernandez had two goals. Cesar Salazar paced Sweetwater with two goals and one assist.

“The kids displayed the heart of a champion,” CVHS head coach Alvie Hernandez said. “They left everything they had through the last five minutes. There was good communication. It was an amazing win.

“For us to come back after Sweetwater had tied it showed the determination we’ve had all season — playing hard to the end whether it’s a win or a loss.”

Hernandez picked up a hat trick in Wednesday’s game.

Gutierrez scored four goals, Hernandez netted a hat trick and Barba collected one goal and two assists in a 9-2 South Bay League win over Southwest on Jan. 16.

Sweetwater (5-3 in league, 8-4 overall) scored some major prestige points for its program with a 9-3 non-league win over Eastlake on Jan. 22.

The Devils roared in front by a score of 5-2 in the first period and never looked back in handing the Titans a rare defeat.

David Segura and Jose Lopez led SuHi with three goals and two assists each while Salazar collected one goal and one assist.

Both goaltenders played sharp throughout the game — Paige Timmons for Eastlake and Carolina Negrete for Sweetwater.

Gementera scored all three goals for the Titans in the non-league game.

Sweetwater and Mar Vista high schools are South Bay League rivals in roller hockey. Photo by Phillip Brents

Best of the rest
Games have proven much more competitive this season throughout the lineup. In a pair of South Bay League games on Tuesday, Mar Vista rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to slip past Southwest, 4-3, while Sweetwater hung on to edge a surprisingly scrappy San Ysidro squad 2-1.

Isaac Suarez scored all four goals in the Mariners’ win while Sweetwater got a late goal from Jose Lopez to snap a 1-1 deadlock against the Cougars.

Max Arias and Manuel Siordia scored early goals for Southwest. Arias later tied the game, 3-3, before Suarez closed the game with three consecutive goals.

Salazar staked the Red Devils to an early 1-0 lead until San Ysidro’s Gonzalo Morales deadlocked the score with a second-period goal.

Both the Raiders and Cougars nearly sent the games into overtime with late scoring opportunities.

San Ysidro goaltender Mariano Mercado turned in a superhero performance by making between an estimated 65 saves in the game, which is not unaccustomed this season for the stalwart Cougar netminder.

“It was a lot,” SYHS head coach Caroline Talavera noted of Mercado’s save total.

Morales and Alejandro Vargas both scored two goals while freshman Grant Faucher tacked on two assists in a 4-2 South Bay League win over Mar Vista on Jan. 23.

Max Arias has continued to help lead the fortunes of the Southwest Raiders. Photo by Phillip Brents


Team records
Sweetwater district teams
(Through Jan. 28)
Hilltop Lancers 11-1
Chula Vista Spartans 9-2
Bonita Vista Barons 9-3
Sweetwater Red Devils 8-4
Eastlake Titans 8-4
San Ysidro Cougars 5-7
Otay Ranch Mustangs 4-7
Mar Vista Mariners 3-9
Southwest Raiders 2-10
Castle Park Trojans 0-12


Mesa League standings
Hilltop  7-1
Bonita Vista 6-2
Eastlake 5-3
Otay Ranch 2-6
Castle Park 0-8

South Bay League standings
Chula Vista 8-0
Sweetwater  5-3
San Ysidro  4-4
Mar Vista  2-6
Southwest  1-7


Sweetwater district schools
(Through Jan. 13)
Braden Mayer (Eastlake) 24 goals, 16 assists – 40 points
Maxwell Anderson (Bonita Vista) 24 goals, 13 assists – 37 points
Trevor Fune (Hilltop) 23 goals, 11 assists – 34 points
Jose Lopez (Sweetwater) 22 goals, 10 assists – 32 points
Cesar Salazar (Sweetwater) 13 goals, 13 assists – 26 points
Isaiah Macias (Hilltop) 18 goals, 7 assists – 25 points
Lucio Gutierrez (Chula Vista) 14 goals, 9 assists – 23 points
Isaac Suarez (Mar Vista) 20 goals, 2 assists – 22 points
Kevin Eagles (Eastlake) 14 goals, 4 assists – 18 points
Gavin Gementera (Eastlake) 11 goals, 7 assists – 18 points
Adrian Hernandez (Chula Vista) 12 goals, 5 assists – 17 points
Justin Sanchez (Hilltop) 9 goals, 6 assists – 15 points
David Segura (Sweetwater) 8 goals, 7 assists – 15 points
Alvaro Ruiz (Bonita Vista) 10 goals, 4 assists – 14 points
Brendan Scharmann (Eastlake) 10 goals, 4 assists – 14 points
Mason Sedlacek (Eastlake) 9 goals, 5 assists – 14 points
Diego Nunes (Bointa Vista) 7 goals, 4 assists – 11 points
Keala Nunes (Bonita Vista) 6 goals, 5 assists – 11 points
Leilani Javier (Southwest) 8 goals, 2 assists – 10 points
Maxwell Arias (Southwest) 7 goals, 2 assists – 9 points
Grant Faucher (San Ysidro) 5 goals, 4 assists – 9 points
Lino Mayor (Otay Ranch) 8 goals, 0 assists – 8 points

The San Ysidro Cougars are on pace to turn in a record-setting season in 2019-20. Photo by Phillip Brents

Monday, Jan. 13
Mesa League
Eastlake 8, Castle Park 0
Hilltop 7, Bonita Vista 0

South Bay League
Chula Vista 7, Sweetwater 4
Mar Vista 6, San Ysidro 2

Otay Ranch 4, Southwest 1

Tuesday, Jan. 14
Mesa League
Hilltop 10, Eastlake 2
Otay Ranch 7, Castle Park 5

South Bay League
Chula Vista 5, San Ysidro 1

Wednesday, Jan. 15
Mesa League
Hilltop 9, Otay Ranch 1

South Bay League
Sweetwater 8, Southwest 2

Bonita Vista 9, Mar Vista 0
San Ysidro 3, Castle Park 2

Thursday, Jan. 16
Mesa League
Bonita Vista 12, Eastlake 5

South Bay League
Chula Vista 9, Southwest 2
Sweetwater 8, Mar Vista 0

Tuesday, Jan. 21
Mesa League
Hilltop 12, Castle Park 2
Bonita Vita 11, Otay Ranch 1

South Bay League
Chula Vista 9, Mar Vista 1
San Ysidro 2, Southwest 1

Wednesday, Jan. 22
Mesa League
Bonita Vista 9, Castle Park 2

Sweetwater 9, Eastlake 3
Hilltop 15, Southwest 0

Thursday, Jan. 23
Mesa League
Eastlake 7, Otay Ranch 4

South Bay League
San Ysidro 4, Mar Vista 2
Chula Vista 6, Sweetwater 5 (OT)

Tuesday, Jan. 28
Mesa League
Eastlake 17, Castle Park 1
Hilltop 11, Bonita Vista 2

South Bay League
Mar Vista 4, Southwest 3
Sweetwater 2, San Ysidro 1