By John Philip Wyllie
For well over 20 years, Bonita Vista High School completely dominated South Bay women’s soccer en route to winning a record 23 consecutive league championships. Even more surprising is the fact that they never lost a single league match through-out 22 of those years establishing in the process a California state record that has been unsurpassed in any sport, male or female.
“The streak” as it was referred to, was halted two years ago with a loss to Hilltop. The consecutive string of league championships ended last season when the Eastlake Titans finally pushed the Barons off of their perch. This year, the Barons are naturally hoping to regain the championship that they owned for so long. They also hope to start a streak of their own despite the greatly improved competition.
A familiar face will direct that effort. Ron Pietila, the coach responsible for most of those 200+ victories, has returned to the helm of the Barons. And they are already looking like a much improved team.
“We want to reestablish the spirit here. We want people to know that when they play us, they are going to have a real tussle on their hands. Our number one goal is to recapture the league championship and then do as well as we can in the CIF tournament,” Pietila said.
In forging his team, he will have a slew of skillful players to draw upon. They are led by team captain, Briana Estolano.
“Briana plays in the central midfield and she is a mainstay of this team. She’s a fine player and one who likes to mix it up. Briana is very, very, competitive,” Pietila added.
Joining her in the midfield will be Lorena Chavez.
“Lorena is an outside midfielder and one of our hardest workers. She has very fine skills and can score when given the opportunity. Her gregarious and outgoing personality make her a wonderful person to have on this team,” Pietila said.
Marisa Matkin starts on the opposite side of the midfield when she is not contributing on defense.
“Marisa missed out on last season due to a broken foot, so we are trying to get her into the spirit of things again,” Pietila said. “She is one who has the potential to make it to the next level because of her size, speed and strength.”
Up front, Pietila is counting on Sarah Grable to do a lot of the scoring. He likes her speed and toughness.
Freshman goalkeeper, Linsey McFarland has taken over the netminding chores this season. Pietila calls her the best goalkeeper Bonita Vista has had in 15 years.
“Linsey is hardworking and lively. She’s another one who could make it at the next level if she continues to improve,” Pietila added.
The team has been bolstered by the addition of Elie Magracia who has opted to play soccer rather than basketball this year and by the strength of sweeper Roxy Brunsting, a good all around athlete who has made a name for herself in volleyball.
With talent to spare and Pietila back to where he enjoyed his greatest success, Bonita Vista hopes to send a message to its opponents this season: The Barons are back!