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BV polo ends season in CIF quarterfinals

By Phillip Brents

Championship teams have a certain chemistry to them. For the San Diego Section-record 14-time Metro Conference champion Bonita Vista High boys water polo team, that formula for success wasnít solidified until the final stages of the season.

The Barons ended their 2000 season Nov. 11 in the Division I quarterfinals following a 15-3 loss to third-seeded Carlsbad.

"We had a lot of kids not playing with us in the offseason. The team was just now coming together," explained head coach Jim McNees. "It has taken us longer to jell than it normally has."

It wasnít until the championship game of this yearís Metro tournament, played on Halloween night at Southwestern College, that Bonita Vista saw its overall record creep above the .500 mark for the first time this season. The Barons, who finished the regular season ranked 10th among Division I teams, followed their 18-9 victory against Eastlake, ranked 10th among Division II teams, with a 13-10 first-round playoff win against sixth-seeded Rancho Buena Vista the following week.

Bonita Vista, seeded 11th in the 12-team divisional draw, was the only lower-seeded team to advance to the ensuing quarterfinal round. "We had a lot of opportunities to control the game," said the Baronsí McNees of the Nov. 9 matchup against RBV at Southwestern College. "I think we showed that at our home pool."

Seniors Mike Dinsmore (5 goals) and Alejandro Loya (3 goals) led the Bonita Vista offensive attack while standout sophomore utilityman Paul Hernandez added two goals. The Barons trailed early but assumed control throughout the remainder of the contest. "We earned nine ejections. We capitalized on 65 percent of them. Thatís very important. Itís huge in the playoffs," McNees said.

The Barons were less fortunate against third-seeded Carlsbad in the next round, played Nov. 11 at the La Jolla Jewish Community Center pool.

Despite returning just two starters from last yearís divisional semifinalist team, the Lancers proved to be one of the divisionís more formidable squads in Y2K. Though not physically gifted with a pool load of giants, this yearís Carlsbad unit was built on discipline and defense ó and those qualities nearly advanced the eight-time defending Avocado League champions into last Saturdayís division title game after a two-goal loss to second-seeded Valhalla in the Division I semifinals on Nov 15 at the La Jolla JCC.

"They were solid," the Baronsí Dinsmore assessed after the quarterfinal-round drubbing.

After a series of game-opening saves by Bonita Vista junior goalie Patrick Loitz, the Lancers finally broke through for a 1-0 lead. The Barons had a chance to tie the game on a four-meter penalty shot by Dinsmore but his shot was blocked by Carlsbad goalie Nick Arvanitis. The Lancers then took a 2-0 lead on a goal scored with just one second left on the shot clock and made it 3-0 when junior Stephen Spring pushed in a shot that had rebounded off the crossbar on a breakaway. The Carlsbad lead expanded to 4-0 on a BV kickout and stood at 5-0 at the end of the first quarter.

By halftime, senior Brian Borso had five goals and the Lancers held a comfortable 10-0 lead. Borso would finish the matchup with seven goals, followed by junior teammates Brad Armstrong (3 goals) and Spring (two goals) on the scoresheet. Freshman Chris Lyle summed up the Baronsí frustrations on the day by closing out scoring on a wicked backhand shot in the waning stages of the game.

Loitz was credited with six saves in the BV cage while Carlsbadís Arvanitis finished the game with just five stops.

Loya led the Barons with two goals in the season-ending loss while Galen Maddocks scored the other BV goal.

"We had a rough start in the beginning of the season," explained Dinsmore. "There were many injuries and we were not functioning well as a team. As the season progressed, we began working together and molding into a team. We finished the season with a lot of momentum, beating Eastlake for the Metro banner and beating RBV in CIF."

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