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San Diego Plays for Soccer Title

From Times Staff Writers

It has been a frustrating season for two-time defending 2-A boys’ soccer champion San Diego High.

First, it was told it would not be allowed to defend its 2-A title. Instead, it would compete in the large-schools playoff division despite its relatively small enrollment.

When Coach Milton Hidalgo asked why, he was told San Diego’s enrollment was combined with that of the ninth-grade population at two nearby junior highs.

Next, despite suffering only one loss during the season, San Diego (20-1-2) was never among the top-ranked teams.

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When Hidalgo asked why, he was told the Cavers played too many small 2-A schools.

Then the seeding meeting came and Hidalgo wanted San Diego seeded No. 1, Poway’s Bob Champion and the other coaches wanted it no higher than No. 4.

When Hidalgo asked why, he was told the City Central League, in which San Diego competes, was the weakest league in the county and worked to pad San Diego’s win column.

A compromise was worked out and San Diego ended up seeded second.

Despite taking all these knocks during the season, San Diego has advanced to the Division I championship game against Poway (16-4-2) at USD tonight at 7.

There, the Cavers will be looking for some respect.

“All we do is work hard,” Hidalgo said. “And when you have people as talented as we have, good things will happen. But coming out with this division stuff--it’s just not fair.”

The Cavers are led by center-forward Hector Castillo and center-midfielder Jose Perez.

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Reynaldo Sanchez is the team’s stopper and Hidalgo said he is one of the fastest defenders around. Goalie Joe Panian, who plays for the under-16 Olympic development team, is no slouch, either.

Poway is led by Rian Watts, Mike Ashworth and Kent Usell.

BOYS’ DIVISION II

Sweetwater (21-2-4) vs. Valhalla (19-1-2)

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For the sixth consecutive year, Coach George Logan will bring his Valhalla team into a championship game. It has won four titles.

This year, the Norsemen face top-seeded Sweetwater at 7 p.m. Saturday at USD.

This is Sweetwater’s first appearance in a championship soccer game, but many feel it is lucky to be there. The Red Devils lost in the first round, 3-1, to El Cajon Valley, but advanced because El Cajon Valley vice-principal Jim Wolf later found two players to be ineligible by school standards.

Valhalla boasts two of the top offensive players in the county in Sergio Uribe (25 goals) and Ian Saward, but Sweetwater is considered a much faster team.

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BOYS’ DIVISION III

St. Augustine (16-5-2) vs. La Jolla (11-5-2)

When the game begins tonight (7 p.m.) at Southwestern College, it will be the first time these two teams have met since the 1987 2-A semifinals, a 3-0 La Jolla win.

St. Augustine played three freshmen in that game. They are now four-year lettermen: forward Erik Senko (21 goals), center midfielder Mike Bryant (over 40 assists in his career) and defender Tim Lawrence.

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La Jolla is the only unseeded boys’ soccer team in any division to advance to the championship game. It beat No. 3 Escondido and No. 2 Mission Bay.

BOYS’ DIVISION IV

Christian (14-6-2) vs. Bishop’s (18-3-0)

Christian, which has never played in a championship game, will have its hands full against the two-time defending 1-A champion Saturday at Torrey Pines (7 p.m.). Top-seeded Christian is the third highest scoring team in the East County.

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GIRLS’ DIVISION IV

Bishop’s (18-3-1) vs. Christian (7-10-2)

This is first year for this division making it possible for these teams to play in both team’s first championship game. With only four teams in this division it didn’t take much to reach Saturday’s final at Torrey Pines. Bishop’s routed Santa Fe Christian, 9-0, and Christian defeated La Jolla Country Day.

GIRLS’ DIVISION III

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USDHS (21-3-2) vs. Madison (15-5-4)

Top-seeded University meets second-seeded Madison in a game at Southwestern College (5 p.m.) that represents Madison’s first appearance in the finals.

University is appearing in the finals for the fourth time in five years. In their three previous championship appearances, the Dons were beaten by San Pasqual, which also eliminated them in the semifinals in 1988.

The Warhawks’ strength is defense. Freshman goalie Addie Jacobs has 12 shutouts and benefits from the play of Amy Gutowski, Kathy Mulherin, Monica Agundez and Dawn Collins. The Dons have gotten goals from 19 players. Freshman Toni Nunez led University scorers with 16 goals. The defense is anchored by goalie Ann David and fullbacks Marisa Beck, Debbie Stenzel, junior Summer Porter and Janae Fournier.

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