The San Diego Section expanded its boys’ and girls’ lacrosse playoffs this season with the expectation that more schools would be able to enjoy what, for many student-athletes, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The section added the new Division III tier to complement the existing Open Division, Division I and Division II tiers, thus creating four playoff divisions.
One major beneficiary of the expansion was the Grossmont Conference with seven boys’ teams and four girls’ teams admitted to this year’s multi-division playoffs, including five teams in the new Division III tier (three boys’ teams, two girls’ teams).
El Capitan’s girls’ team had the most success by winning three playoff games to make history as the section’s first Division III girl’s champion.
West Hills boys’ team advanced as far as the Division III championship game, placing runner-up to Army-Navy Academy.
Helix Charter received the No. 2 seed in the Division III boys’ field and advanced as far as the semifinals before losing to Army-Navy. The Highlanders defeated seventh-seeded Mission Bay, 11-5, in the quarterfinals.
In the Division I boys’ field, Granite Hills received the No. 5 seed and advanced to the semifinals with wins over 12th-seeded Mt. Carmel (17-8) and fourth seeded Carlsbad (13-11), However, the Eagles were stymied from advancing further following a 12-10 loss to top-seeded St, Augustine.
Eight teams qualified for the Open Division playoffs in each gender field while 12 teams received seeds in the remaining three divisions. The top four teams in Division I, Division II and Division III received byes to the quarterfinals.
In the opening round of the Division III playoffs, No. 10 Santana pulled off an 11-9 upset win over seventh-seeded Ramona to advance to the quarterfinals against the second-seeded Olympian Lady Eagles. Olympian pulled out a 7-6 win to advance to the semifinals in an all-South Bay matchup against the third-seeded San Ysidro Lady Cougars.
As the top seed in the division, El Capitan received a first-round bye before meeting eighth-seeded Classical Academy in the quarterfinals. The Lady Vaqueros recorded a narrow 7-6 win to advance to the semifinals against fourth-seeded Rancho Buena Vista, winning more easily by a 13-2 count.
San Ysidro (22-3-1, 10-0 in league play) edged Olympian, 9-6, to advance to tangle with El Capitan (16-5, 10-4 in conference play) for the right to possess the first Division III banner in section history. It was a close game with the Lady Vaqueros instead of making history with a 6-2 championship game victory.
Senior midfielder Trinity Schelin scored two goals for El Capitan while junior goalie Amaya Tone had 12 saves. The Lady Vaq defense held San Ysidro senior Genesis Cota Luna, the section’s leading scorer with 120 goals, scoreless in the game to buttress the East County team’s chances of winning.
Granite Hills received the No. 8 seed in the Division I girls’ playoffs and defeated ninth-seeded Westview, 10-5, in the first round before exiting this year’s postseason field with a 15-10 loss to top seeded Poway in the quarterfinals.
Name of the game
Ninth-seeded Monte Vista edged eighth-seeded Hilltop, 7-5, in the opening round of the Division III boys’ playoffs before ending its season with a 10-6 loss to No. 1 West Hills in the quarterfinals.
Ninth-seeded El Capitan dropped a 7-6 double overtime game to eighth-seeded Eastlake in the opening round of the Division II boys’ playoffs. While second-seeded Santana lost, 5-4, to seventh-seeded Rancho Bernardo in the quarterfinals.
West Hills defeated fourth-seeded Mater Dei Catholic, 9-6, in the semifinals to meet Army-Navy in the championship round before ending its season with 14-4 loss to the Warriors.
Grossmont (Division I boys) and Valhalla (Division II girls) both lost first-round games.