Having already won Western League, Coronado, the number-one seed of the CIF Tournament, made it to finals of the CIF Open-Division Championship. The team started by taking an easy win against Westview in the first round of the tournament, 15-10. This was followed by a tighter game in the semi-finals against Vista High School, 13-12. This meant that they were now in the finals of the highest division in the San Diego Section, facing their rival La Jolla High School.
Coronado had played them twice prior to the championship game. At the beginning of the season, La Jolla gained the upper hand with the first win of the season against Coronado, 4-5. About a month ago, however, Coronado quickly returns the favor in sudden-death overtime, winning 10-9 at La Jolla’s pool. Although they were ranked sixth in the draw, both teams came prepared on Saturday, November 11 for an extremely close CIF Open-Division Final.
The game was played at 7:00 PM at La Jolla’s Coggan Aquatic Complex, already giving them the “home-court advantage.” Despite this, Coronado maintained a strong lead throughout the entire first half, ending at 5-4. However, Coach Castillo noted, “We had to play like we were losing because we know that they have come back quite often with several of their strong players.” In the fourth quarter, Coronado still maintained a lead, until La Jolla began to gain momentum. Playing excellent defense, La Jolla was able to block several key goals against Coronado, allowing them to tie the game by the end of the fourth quarter. This meant that Coronado, once again, had to go into two 3-minute overtimes against their rival.
The first overtime allowed for a small lead in favor of La Jolla. Going into the second overtime, Coronado had only three minutes to score a goal and prevent any further scoring from their opponents. Freshman goalie Teddy Oliver succeeded in avoiding further lead by La Jolla, in order for the offensive players to tie the game. “With only a minute and twenty seconds left, the smart thing to do would be to call a timeout,” says Coach Castillo, “but I noticed that Andy Rodgers was going towards the center of the goal. I had a feeling that he was going to make something happen.” With an assist from George Farley, Rodgers was able to score a final goal before the end of the second overtime, tying the game.
La Jolla was now in possession of the ball, but Coronado’s defense overpowered them in the last twenty seconds. Coronado now had possession and swam hard to the other side of the pool, when two La Jolla players fouled Rodgers. This allowed him a direct shot towards the near side of the post, finally ending the game with 10 goals to 9.
This victory gave Coronado the Open-Division Championship Title in the San Diego Section. They will be playing the Harvard Regionals this upcoming Friday in Corona Del Mar.
Friday, November 17 – Harvard Regionals in Corona Del Mar @ 5:00 PM