At the expense of the Bonita Vista girls’ soccer team, Melissa Estrada is feeling much better about herself today.
For a good part of the young season, things hadn’t gone according to plan for Estrada, a San Dieguito midfielder and member of a state Olympic development team. That all changed Saturday, when the top-ranked Mustangs met second-ranked and host Bonita Vista in the Barons Soccer Tournament.
Estrada swarmed the field, had three assists and flooded the net when it counted, scoring two goals, including the game winner, to power San Dieguito over Bonita Vista, 6-3, in the Unlimited Division final.
“This was nice because I haven’t played well lately,” said Estrada, who was named the tournament’s MVP.
Bonita Vista Coach Ron Pietila wouldn’t stretch Estrada’s role by saying she single-handedly defeated his team, but he did concede that her presence was felt.
“No one is good enough to do that at this level anymore,” he said, “but I’ll tell you, I wouldn’t mind having someone like her around.”
Estrada’s game-winner was a study in grace. With 12 minutes remaining, and the game tied at 3-3, she fired a shot from the right side, 25 feet out, that soared high and long. Goalie Bethie Crane did her best to save it, but was a second late on her takeoff. The ball skimmed the upright, and settled in the back of the net.
Nine minutes later, Estrada scored again, this time from the center, but a kick as resounding as the previous one. Her second goal made it 5-3, San Dieguito.
“I just used the sun and the wind to my advantage, and they went in,” she said.
The Mustangs (7-0) came out quickly, scoring the first two goals off corner kicks 10 minutes into the first half. But the Barons (7-1-1) came roaring back and controlled most of the half to tie it up, 2-2, before halftime. It was the first time San Dieguito had been scored against this year.
“After we scored so quickly, we sat back a bit,” San Dieguito Coach David Emmerson said.
With the victory, San Dieguito avenged losses the last two years of this tournament, both at the hands of Bonita Vista. In 1988, the Barons defeated San Dieguito 2-0 in the final. Last year, they won 1-0 in the semifinals.
Tanya DiFrancesco had two goals for the Mustangs.