By: John Philip Wyllie
The Southwest High School Boys Soccer Team (18-6-3) did more than win a CIF San Diego section Division II championship last Saturday. They made history. Never before in the 27-year existence of the school had its soccer team captured a CIF championship. Saturday’s championship was made all the sweeter by the fact that the unseeded Raiders were decided underdogs coming into the post-season tournament.
The road to the championship was not an easy one. Southwest’s quarterfinal victory over San Pasqual last week required the Raiders to battle back from a two-goal deficit to knot the game in regulation. After surviving 30 minutes of nail-biting double sudden death overtime, the Raiders advanced to the semifinals on penalty kicks.
The victory set up a match with the top-seeded Valhalla High Norsemen. It too was a struggle and it also went into overtime. Southwest stars Arturo Hernandez (2 goals) and Jesus Rosales together put three goals in the net for the Raiders as they outlasted the highly regarded Norsemen 3-2.
After Hernandez put the Raiders ahead 2-1 in the 30th minute, the Norsemen came alive and battled back to tie the game 17 minutes later. The Raider defense was then subjected to constant Valhalla pressure as the Norsemen searched for the game winner. An ecstatic Hernandez found what Valhalla couldn’t and nailed the game winner for Southwest 15 minutes into the first sudden death overtime.
Playing in its first-ever CIF championship game, Southwest took on second-seeded Escondido High for the 2003 Division II title at La Jolla High School on Saturday. The Raiders got on the board in regulation courtesy of Ruben Arreola, but at the end of regulation time the score was knotted 1-1. Seven minutes into overtime, senior Jorge Solis scored the game winner on a header to the delight of the Southwest bench and assembled fans. Solis’s goal provided the appropriate finish to what can only be called a Cinderella season for the Southwest Raiders.