While the Costa Mesa High boys soccer team continues to have a leg
up on its second straight Pacific Coast League championship, Newport
Harbor High can clinch the school's second CIF Southern Section playoff
berth in the last five seasons with a pair of Sea View League triumphs
Coach Kevin Esparza's Sailors (7-6-2, 3-2 in league) are in second
place, four points behind powerful Woodbridge (18-1, 5-0). So,
Woodbridge, idle Friday, can clinch at least a tie for the title with its
next win, a Harbor loss, or two Warrior ties.
Newport, however, enters Wednesday's road game at last-place Irvine
(2-10, 0-5) three points ahead of fourth-place Laguna Hills (6-8-3,
1-2-1), one point ahead of third-place Aliso Niguel.
If the Tars, who last made the playoffs in 2000, defeat Irvine, then
top visiting Laguna Hills Friday, they would be assured of finishing no
worse than third.
A Laguna Hills loss to Woodbridge Wednesday, combined with a Newport
win over Irvine, would put the Tars one Hawks' loss or one Harbor tie
from creating an insurmountable advantage in the standings (based on two
points for a win and one for a tie).
The Sailors positioned themselves so favorably by defeating Aliso
Niguel, 1-0, Friday, after enjoying a league bye Wednesday. Sophomore
Will Guzman scored the game's lone goal, as the Sailors outshot the
Wolverines, 10-3. The victory avenged a 5-2 loss to Aliso in the league
opener, Jan. 9.
Newport defeated Irvine, 3-2, Jan. 11, then topped Laguna Hills, 2-0,
Mesa (11-3-1, 5-0-1) extended its PCL unbeaten streak to nine games,
dating back to last season, with a convincing 7-2 thumping of University
Senior Mike Gardiner scored two goals, one credited to him on an own
goal by the Trojans, while Eli Solis, Billy Lund, Irwin Salas and Brian
Zang, all seniors, as well as freshman Alfonso Pineda, posted single
goals for the Mustangs. Uni (0-5-1 in league) didn't help its cause with
two own goals.
The Mustangs enter Wednesday's visit to Northwood two points up on
second-place Laguna Beach (7-7-2, 4-1-1), three up on the third-place
Timberwolves. Northwood tied Mesa, 1-1, in their first league meeting
The Mustangs close out the week Friday against visiting Estancia
(4-11, 1-5), which defeated Uni, 3-2, Wednesday to earn its first PCL
Mesa earned a 2-0 decision over its crosstown rival the first round of
Corona del Mar (5-8-3, 2-3-1) needs a pair of victories this week to
remain in contention for one of the league's three guaranteed playoff
Coach Pat Callaghan's Sea Kings host Estancia Wednesday and visit Uni
Friday, hoping to close a three-point gap on third-place Northwood.
The Sea Kings defeated Estancia and Uni by 2-0 scores in the first
round, but have lost three straight league contests since, by a combined
margin of 8-2.
CdM is seeking its second postseason appearance in eight seasons, its
first since the 1999-2000 campaign.
Sage Hill (6-4-1, 3-2-1 in the Academy League) enters this week in
third place. The Lightning hosts Capistrano Valley Christian today at
3:15, then faces visiting Calvary Chapel of Downey Friday. Both are