East County Sports

Matadors dominate with shutouts

By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer
RANCHO BERNARDO — Ernie Reyes III, the head girls soccer coach for Mount Miguel High, took a slice from his personal history and applied his lessons to the Lady Matadors in regards to Saturday’s (Feb. 26) CIF-San Diego Section Division V championship game.
“It was played at Rancho Bernardo, which is a field I always hated,” Reyes recalled. “The field is both narrower and shorter than normal, plus, I played at Poway, so they were are biggest rivals, too.”
However, on the positive side, Reyes noted, “But we never, ever, lost to Rancho Bernardo either.”
Mount Miguel was able to continue Reyes’ personal winning streak, whipping nearby Maranatha Christian, 3-0, to earn the Matadors’ first-ever CIFSDS championship.
“It’s the first soccer title for our school by either team,” he noted. “Our boys came close the last two years, but lost in the final.”
“Our girls came through and I hope we grow and keep this going for years.”
Mount Miguel advances to Tuesday’s Mar. 1) CIF Southern California regional, receiving the No. 4 seed and will entertain GALA High, an all-girls school in Los Angeles. Kick off from Matadors Stadium is at 5 p.m.
The GALA (Girls Academic Leadership Academy) Goddesses went 13-2-1 this season.
“GALA has a striker (Ava Ward Wallace) who scored 33 goals this season,” the coach noted. “But we did some things to shore up our defense, so I think we’ll be prepared.”
The Matadors defense registered three consecutive postseason shutouts this season while tallying 15 unanswered goals.
Following a first-round bye, the top-seeded Matadord blanked Grossmont Valley League rival El Cajon Valley, 7-0,
In the semifinals, it was a 5-0 blanking of “top-of-the-jill” neighborhood rival Morse, before taking down Maranatha Christian.
Plus, earlier in the season, the Matadors bounced Chula Vista Learning Community Charter, the eventual CIFSDS Division IV titlist, for the Cobras (16-1-1) lone setback on the year.
Mount Miguel (13-6-1 overall) opened its campaign with eight consecutive victories en route to a solid 9-0-1 start. However, a tough showing in the Grossmont alley League might have been the difference.
“There are teams from all sorts of division in our league,” he added. “But it helped fine-tune us defensively so it all worked to our benefit — we’re stronger for it.”
’22 Heroes
The string of CIFSDS shutouts was orchestrated by senior goalkeeper Leanna Franklin, who registered seven saves in the title contest against Maranatha’s Eagles.
The defense was headed by fullbacks in junior Melanie Solares and senior Clarissa Ramos.
However, the 15-0 postseason scoring margin didn’t really surprise the coach.
.”That was something we’d been working on — we knew the offense would explode. It was a collective group win.”
A pair of sophomores did all of the scoring.
Ysabell Hernandez paced the strikers with five points, including a pair of goals. Her assist came on a goal by Kenzie Reyna, who also assisted one of Hernandez’ tallies.
Reyna’s goal was her club-leading 25th of the campaign.
“Both can play at the next level,” Reyes added about his base unit for the next two seasons.
Another top player is senior midfielder Juliana Laverdiere, who can also fill the net (15 goals).
“Juliana received some Division I offers last season, but she is going to Mesa College next year to see if she can get some other scholarships offers.”


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