Last week the Islander Girls Water Polo Team had their best week of the season, winning two games in the Western League, including a 10-9 overtime win over La Jolla and a 7-6 win over Cathedral Catholic. A season ago the Islanders were hit hard by graduation and the preponderance of the playing time went to freshmen who were in the beginning stages of learning the game. Coronado struggled early last season, but the team steadily improved and despite a 7-21 overall record and a mark of 0-6 in the Western League, Coronado was the No. 4 seed in the CIF Division III Playoffs.
Again this campaign, Coronado has continued to play a tough schedule, competing against some of the toughest teams in Orange County and in a series of tournaments that allows them to play some of the best teams in the state. Heading into last week the Islanders had an overall record of 6-12, but the games and the scores were getting closer. Now a week later they stand at 8-12 and things are looking up.
When asked about the reasons her team has improved this season, Islander Head Coach Kelly Phelps replied, “We’ve been working harder in practice. The girls are trying to apply what we are doing in practice to the games a little bit more. We are more focused and they are starting to believe in themselves. Part of it was our success in the America’s Finest City Tournament, where we finished seventh out of 32 teams. That result gave them the boost they needed so they know they deserve to win close games and play at a high level.” The previous season, Coronado finished in the lower third of the teams in the AFC event, which reflects a good year-over-year improvement.
In water polo, a tie game at the end of regulation play results in two, three-minute overtime periods. And that is what happened in the La Jolla game. “It was back and forth,” said Phelps of the contest. “There was never more than a two goal differential and it was close throughout the entire game. No goals were scored in the first overtime period. We each scored in the second overtime. With five seconds left in the game, we had a man-up and Katy Gauvin took a shot and scored.”
Coronado’s scoring included Mackenzie Wiley with two goals, Cassidy Wiley with three goals and four assists; Jaicey Tyler had three goals and Haley Chasin had one goal. Goalie Isabella Cuellar was credited with 12 saves.
The second game of the week was a home affair with Cathedral Catholic, which Phelps described as, “Another hard fought game. We didn’t have a lead at any point by more than two goals. We would finally get an advantage and they would make a comeback. Our defense played really well. Maddie Hill has been doing a great job defending at two meters, controlling the other teams’ center forward.”
The usual suspects scored for Coronado with a combined six goals from the Wiley Twins, and one from Tyler. Hill drew two exclusions, one of which yielded a penalty shot for the Islanders. Cuellar was again reliable in goal with 10 saves.
Coronado picked a good time to start playing well as they compete this Thursday through Saturday at the SoCal Invitational hosted by Irvine High School, one of the premier tournaments in the state. Coronado plays their first game Thursday at 4 pm against San Marcos High School of Santa Barbara. Also playing at the Foothill location along with Coronado and San Marcos are Foothill, El Toro, Montebello, Villa Park, Fountain Valley and Laguna Hills.
Islander Boys Soccer Wins Big, Wins Close
If you are the coach of a soccer team and your opponent that night arrives with 12 players, you probably have a pretty good idea that the game is going your way. That was the experience that Islander Head Coach Brian Hiatt-Aleu had Thursday evening when Madison showed up with 12 total players while also missing four or five of their starters. “Everyone played at least a half,” Hiatt-Aleu said of his team which won the game 10-0. “It was funny, it started raining and we were up 3-0 in the first 15 minutes and 5-0 at the half. We hadn’t played that week, so I let the starters play another 15 or 20 minutes in the second half. Then I put the subs in and they scored five goals. I told them to relax. For the last eight minutes of the game, I had them stop shooting. I don’t want to rub it in and keep scoring. Our guys wanted to play. It’s hard to tell those sophomores to stop shooting.”
For the record the Islander goals were scored as follows: two each from Diego Ochoa, Antony Chonga and Riley Peterson; with single goals from Fernando Martinez, Alvaro Martinez, Drew Maracle and Max McKee.
Then in a rare Saturday evening game, Coronado traveled to Clairemont and emerged with a 1-0 victory over their leading Central League rival. “They battled us really well,” said Hiatt-Aleu of the Chieftains. “They returned pretty much their whole lineup from last year. Like us, they had won every Central League game going into Saturday. They had a nice, big crowd and it was a pretty good game. Clairemont was up for the game and they were emotional. They battled for every ball and matched our intensity. The few seniors we have left stepped up. It was pretty even in the first half and there was no score at halftime.”
Hiatt-Aleu continued his analysis of the game by saying, “In the second half we stepped up the level of play a little bit. Our technical skills improved and we kept the ball in their half (of the field) quite a bit. We had some set pieces and finally on a corner kick by Peterson, we had a couple of guys dummy it and a guy from the back shot it in the goal. We caught them sleeping and Alejandro Wiley scored the goal on Riley’s corner. Justin Aden had a good game in goal. Our back line of Maracle, Tyler Gilmore, Tanner Caldwell and Jose Escalante was really good. Kyle Koshland had a great game in the middle. We were the better team in the second half. It will be anybody’s game when they come to our place.”
This week the Islanders play Tuesday at Christian at 3:30 p.m., and Thursday they host Mission Bay at 6 p.m. “The City League comes down to Mission Bay, Clairemont and us,” Hiatt-Aleu added. “Those are the one goal games that can go either way. Hopefully we will be prepared. We’re hoping to have Nathan Andersen, Matt Ovrom and Andrew Orozco back from their injuries a week or so before the playoffs, so they can get in some game time.”
Islander Boys Basketball Wins Twice Last Week
The Islander Boys Basketball Team did their best last week to keep the Central League race close, with a 45-40 win at home over Clairemont and a 66-54 win at Kearny. Right now Point Loma leads the league with a 7-0 mark, with Coronado the lone team in second place with a 6-1 record and Madison is in third place at 5-2.
In all candor last week’s first game against Clairemont was not an artistic success. But I was born into a familial line of coaches which fervently believed that there was no such thing as a bad victory, so we’ll go with that concept. One example from the game was that with 2:25 remaining to play in the first quarter Coronado held a 9-2 lead. At the end of the quarter Clairemont held the lead 11-9. At halftime Coronado was ahead 16-14. We’ll pause this narrative to let you do the math. Yes, it was a 7-3 quarter.
The pace picked up in the third frame, but the Islanders couldn’t put any distance between themselves and the Chieftains and the score was 28-26 at the conclusion of the third quarter. In the middle of the final stanza, Coronado went on a mini-run that lead to the Islander victory, including three free throws by Austin Morgan, a free throw from Stavros Markakis, a three-pointer by Morgan, a steal and layup from Dylan Gouthro and finally a layup by Mario Acosta.
Head Coach JD Laaperi was more than willing to take the victory. “Tuesday there seemed like there wasn’t a lot of energy in the gym. Both teams were a little dead, but our guys found a way to win the game. I told the team that if we had any hope of winning league, we couldn’t lose that game. We hit a couple of shots coming down the stretch and we made a couple of stops.”
Morgan wound up with 15 points, three assists and three steals. Gouthro added 11 points, 11 rebounds, five steals and two blocked shots. John Scales had seven points, with Markakis and Acosta scoring six points each. Matt Gillingham didn’t score but had six rebounds, a total that was matched by Acosta.
“I have to mention Aaron Polk,” said Laaperi of the senior forward. “He was on the bench and every timeout he was staying positive for the team. His positive energy and attitude throughout the night was just as important as anything we did Tuesday.”
Friday night’s game marked the beginning of the second half of Central League play and found Coronado traveled to Kearny. “We always play well at Kearny,” Laaperi said. “Immediately after the game Tuesday, we didn’t talk about it and looked forward. Kearny played us to within five points at our place and we made adjustments starting in Wednesday’s practice to what they do. We were up 15 points at the half and about five minutes into the third quarter we got the lead up to 20 points. They put a press on us and had a decent run. In the fourth quarter we hit a wall and stopped coming to the ball. Our lead got down to 12 points, but it was never down to single digits. I told the kids that the first three and one-half quarters were the best basketball we have played. We were running our sets, and playing defense. It was a great all-around effort from everybody.”
On the down side, the Islanders lost guard John Scales in the third quarter to an ankle sprain to his right foot. Scales is likely to miss a couple of games due to the injury. On the plus side, Morgan was 8-9 from the free throw line, 4-6 from behind the three-point line and finished with 26 points. “It was by far his best game for us,” Laaperi noted. “Acosta was the other guy who did a good job up top. Gouthro played well. When Scales went down, Gouthro scored eight straight points. He just took the game over. Stavros played almost the whole second half and gave us good minutes on the offensive end of the floor.”
This week the Islanders host West Hills Monday evening and Friday night Central League-leading Point Loma comes to town. “That is going to be our Senior Night,” noted Laaperi. “There will be a lot of people there. This week we set our sights toward winning out all of our league games.”
U-T San Diego Prep Boys Basketball Poll
Despite a loss last week to the Army-Navy Academy, Cathedral Catholic retained their No. 1 slot in the U-T San Diego Sportswriters/Sportscasters Boys Prep Basketball Poll. Thirteen sportswriters and sportscasters from throughout the county vote in the poll each week. Army-Navy’s victory combined with losses by St. Augustine and La Costa Canyon propelled the Warriors from No. 6 on last week’s poll to No. 2 this week.
Here’s the complete poll along with the number first place votes received: No. 1 Cathedral Catholic (8); No. 2 Army-Navy Academy (2); No. 3 St. Augustine; No. 4 La Costa Canyon (2); No.5 El Camino (1); No. 6 San Marcos, No. 7 Hoover, No. 8 Mission Hills, No. 9 San Ysidro and No. 10 Morse. Others receiving votes (in declining order) include: Santa Fe Christian, Torrey Pines, Tri-City Christian and Westview.
Flu Bug and Cathedral Catholic Hit CHS Girls Soccer Team
Tis the cold and flu season and nobody knows that better than CHS Girls Varsity Soccer Coach Rogerio Mendes. Last week Coronado lost either considerable practice time or game time due to illness from Emma Pietkiewicz, Allie Hecht, Madison Smith and goalie Brooke Voorhies. That meant new positions for their replacements for one of the biggest games of the season, the Islanders playing at the CIF San Diego Section’s No. 1 ranked Cathedral Catholic. Coronado lost the Western League contest 5-1.
The Lady Dons scored two minutes into the game on a corner kick. Cathedral’s second goal came about eight minutes later when the Islanders tried to execute an offside trap which didn’t work. Coronado scored in the closing minute of the first half when Abigail Callahan crossed the ball to Lauren Ramirez, who scored the Islanders lone goal.
Mendes credited several of his players on their efforts. “Mary Grace Braun played well at forward and midfield. Braun was another player who was injured. She had a slight fracture but was okay to play. Sydney Bennett played well as did Mollie Privett. And Lauren and Abigail did a nice job combining on their goal.”
“Cathedral played like it was a Final,” Mendes said of the game. “They went after the result and it was a tough game. I’m looking forward to playing them again.” This week the Islanders are at home Wednesday night to host University City at 6 p.m. Friday the team travels to La Jolla for a 3:30 p.m., contest.
Islander Girls Basketball Splits Pair
A week ago Tuesday, the Coronado Islanders hosted Clairemont in one of the more unusual games of the season. Coronado won the game 28-10, which isn’t all that strange, but several of the game elements were. Coronado committed one foul in the entire game, when with 1:05 left in the contest Martha Byrne fouled a Chieftain player. Clairemont did not score a single point in the second half and the game took almost exactly an hour to play. High school games normally run roughly 90 minutes in length.
Byrne can be forgiven for her indiscretion as she was Coronado’s leading scorer with 12 points to go with eight rebounds, two assists and three steals. Brooke Pierson chipped in with seven points, eight rebounds five steals and two blocked shots. Katie Hearther added six points, seven rebounds and a blocked shot. Charlotte Hennegan had two points and Ashtyn Hurrell had a point and three steals, while coming off of a week with the flu.
“An offensive display it was not,” said Head Coach Toler Goodwin of the one-sided game. “Clairemont is struggling and they are going through a down cycle. They had a couple of decent teams four or five years ago, but they haven’t had the numbers in their program and they don’t have a whole lot of depth. We started a senior, two juniors and two freshmen. Brooke did a nice job.”
Friday night the Girls started Round 2 of Central League play with a game at Kearny. In their first meeting the Islanders won at home 31-26 but this time Kearny prevailed 50-34. Kate Pederson and Byrne both got into early foul trouble, but Goodwin received some good play from the freshman Hearther. “Kate had eight points against Kearny to go with her six points against Clairemont, so she had a really good week. Jasmine Espindola came off the bench at Kearny and played very well. Jordyn Kastlunger did a good job rebounding and playing defense. We were down six points at the half, but we came out flat in the third quarter.”
In addition to Hearther, Byrne scored seven points, Pierson accounted for six points, Hurrell had six points, Pederson hit a three-pointer to account for her scoring, while Sydney Waitley and Hennegan had two points each.
The Islanders miss the contributions of Camille Wilson, their senior guard who is out with a dislocated left shoulder. Goodwin said, “Without Camille we don’t have a consistent second scorer. We are uncertain when Camille will return. She is going to rehab and physical therapy to get strength back in her shoulder. It’s a matter of strength and when she would feel comfortable and healthy. Obviously she helps us. It’s all about the opportunity for her to finish her senior season on the court.”
Currently Coronado is tied for second place in the Central League. Kearny is the league leader at 6-1, with the Islanders and Christian both at 5-2. Point Loma is 4-3 and Madison, Crawford and Clairemont are all .500 and are effectively out of the race. This week the Islanders host Point Loma Friday for a 6 p.m., game in their only contest of the week.
Coronado Sailing Team Takes Second Place in Team Race Classic
Monday mid-morning I rang up CHS Sailing Team Coach Rob Hallawell to get an update on his team and found out that Coronado had placed second out of 11 teams in the 2013 Harold Adams Team Race Classic. Point Loma High School won the event, with Cathedral Catholic finishing in third place.
Hallawell explained that there are two types of prep racing. On the West Coast the more popular version is fleet racing and on the East Coast team racing is their forte. Team racing features three boats from one school against three boats from one other school. In fleet racing typically two boats from each school in the regatta race each other.
“There is a lot of jockeying for position,” said Hallawell of the team event. “The races are about 10 minutes long and they are non-stop action. Often six boats get to the finish line at exactly the same time. It’s fun for the kids. The New England schools are better at the team racing, while we destroy them in fleet racing. It’s probably in the coaching. Their coaches are a little bit smarter about that stuff and we put the most emphasis on fleet racing. We have such an upper hand on the fleet racing that we are working on team racing to catch up.”
Competing in the Adams Classic were (skipper/crew) Patrick Powell/Sam McNeal, Chuck Eaton/Ryan Nies, Sterling Henken/Josh Gumbleton and Paris Henken/Greg Coumes. “Basically our four teams sailed an equal amount,” said Hallawell. “We only sailed three boats at a time. Our four crews are all very equal. I really can’t pick one team that was better or worse than the others. They are very, very equal. We have 25 kids in the program. A lot of the team members are seniors, but we have a lot of really good freshman girls who are good sailors behind them who are ready to go.”
The next big regatta for the Coronado Sailing Team is the Golden Bear Invitational, hosted by Cal Berkeley, which will be competed Feb. 22-23, 2013. There will be qualifying regattas for nationals in March and April.
Track Team Organizational Meeting Thursday
Head Track Coach George Green wrote to let our readers who are interested in trying out for the CHS Track Team that there will be an organizational meeting Thursday at the gym classroom during lunch break. Please contact Coach Green through www.Islandertrack.com for more information about the CHS Track program.
While you are on the website, you might notice that Green has uploaded many historic track and field photos for your viewing enjoyment. “Former team members or Coronado historians may find themselves there,” said Green. “The pictures go way, way back.”
And They are Smart Too
CHS Athletic Director Robin Nixon recently forwarded the academic results of the winter sports athletes to me. All winter sports athletes have a weighted semester grade point average of 3.5. The varsity academic averages by team look like this: Girls Basketball 3.89; Boys Basketball 3.07; Girls Water Polo 3.685; Boys Soccer 3.14 and Girls Soccer 4.07. Congratulations to all of the athletes.
• I lived in St. Louis for six years and in fact both of our children were born in the Gateway City. So it was with a great deal of sadness that I heard of the recent passing of St. Louis Cardinal Legend Stan Musial at the age of 92. To put Musial in perspective, in the city of St. Louis he was bigger than the combined legacies of Tony Gwynn and Junior Seau would be in San Diego. I met Musial on three or four occasions and he couldn’t have been nicer. One of the great things about the Cardinals franchise is they keep their former star players involved and around the team. Seeing Stan the Man at a Cardinal home game or at his Stan and Biggie’s Restaurant was a common occurrence. Musial was a great player but a greater person.
• If I never hear about Lance Armstrong or Manti Te’o again, that will be fine with me. I have to admit that I wasn’t aware of the vicious side of Armstrong, who ruined people’s lives and careers to protect his doping secrets. Regarding Te’o, how gullible can one human being be?
• I am of the belief that the Chargers missed a great opportunity to make a statement with the hiring of their new head coach, settling instead on Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy to run the team. With a year left to pay recently fired head coach Norv Turner and two years owed to deposed General Manager AJ Smith, you knew the new hires wouldn’t be well known or highly paid by the Spanos family. The good news is that former Phoenix Cardinal Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt will serve as San Diego’s offensive coordinator, which to me seems like a positive choice. Let’s hope McCoy is as well.
• Although it’s still early in the strike-shortened NHL season, I am firmly on the bandwagon for the 6-0 Chicago Blackhawks. Speaking of hockey, I came across the movie “Slapshot” the other night and watched it from beginning to end for probably the 15th time. The hockey comedy was the movie that forever made me a Paul Newman fan. If you have never watched it, “Slapshot” isn’t for young kids, but it’s really funny and on the pantheon of all-time great sports movies.
• Finally, with Super Bowl XLVII coming up this weekend, it’s time for our fearless predictions, which are for entertainment purposes only. The current line is San Francisco favored by 3.5 points over the underdog Baltimore Ravens and the over-under for combined scoring is at 47.5 points. I’ll take the Ravens and the points and bet the over. I just think its Baltimore’s year and they’ll find a way to get it done.