High School Spotlight: Torrey Pines Extends Unbeaten Streak, Wins CIF FINAL
The CIF championship in the Open Division was a battle between Torry Pines and Point Loma on February 22, 2019. Played in the San Diego Mission Bay stadium, fans from both teams filled the stands to cheer as the back and forth action lasted till the final PK.
Youth Soccer News: The best of high school soccer shone brightly as two of America’s finest city’s high school soccer teams challenged each other for the title of CIF Champion.
Torrey Pines beat Point Loma on penalties to claim the CIF Championship, its first since 2012.
The Falcons of Torrey Pines High School took on the Pointers of Point Loma in the CIF Open Division final on February 22, 2019.
The CIF final match was a tenacious struggle to achieve on-field dominance. It was clear that every player — all the Falcons and Pointers — shared a deep passion for the beautiful game.
It was also evident that both teams were determined to leave it all on the field as the challenge for the CIF victory continued past regulation time, into golden goal and finally to PKs. Fans from both teams filled the stands to cheer as the back and forth action lasted till the final PK.
Point Loma opened the scoring but the competition had only just begun between the teams. The back-and-forth scoring kept the match even for most of the evening and the highlight was when Torrey Pines’ Ish Uno scored a spectacular free kick from outside the penalty box, pulling his team ahead for a 3-2 lead, only to have Point Loma’s Jake Donlon even the score a few minutes later.
The 3-3 draw led to a scoreless golden goal period and then a tense shootout.
One of the stars of the night, Torrey Pines goalkeeper Nick Bello, played a major role in the success of his team, successfully blocking shot after shot from reaching the back of the net.
With Bello guarding the net, Torrey Pines extended its unbeaten streak to 19 games.
Ted Merrifield, Ali Demiralp, Alec Philibbosian, Denzel Zepeda, Carsten Nahum, Michael Mines, Garrett Seamans, Ryan Crean, Nick Bello, Cody Black, and Ish Uno, among other talented players, all made consistent contributions throughout the season leading the team to a national ranking on MaxPreps of 18.
Torrey Pines is No. 1 in the Open Division rankings with 47 goals scored and only 19 goals against.
“It was an excellent high school game with all the excitement and thrills,” said Andy Hargreaves, Head Varsity Coach at Torrey Pines. “I have huge respect for these guys — for their sacrifice and commitment it took to get to here tonight.”
“It feels amazing,” said Alec Philibbosian. “We have all been working so hard this whole season to achieve our goal of winning CIF and to see it all come together is beyond words.”
“To win CIF, the guys on this team showed a lot of resiliency,” said Joel Kosakoff, Assistant Coach at Torrey Pines.
“The team’s never say die attitude propelled them to a fantastic season.”
“Point Loma threw a lot at us and Coach Elliott Savitz had his boys pumped for the game,” said Hargreaves.
“I coached Elliot at San Diego Surf SC in the late 90s and know how committed he was as a player,” said Hargreaves. “I told my guys to expect the same from his players — and they didn’t disappoint.”
“To come back from being down a goal in the CIF semi-final and down a goal twice in the CIF final shows the team’s strength of character. I am really proud to be part of this group of players,” said Kosakoff.
“The boys were excited for tonight’s game. They came out with an excellent game plan and a lot of confidence,” said Hargreaves. “I think the crowd enjoyed the match and both teams left so much on the field.”
“I would love to match this high school team against a U.S. Soccer Development Academy (DA) team,” said Hargreaves with a smile as he was leaving the field. “I think we could show everyone how good these players are.” While that final score may never be known, this Torrey Pines squad would absolutely win on chemistry, grit and team pride.
The on-field skirmishes had moments of in-your-face bravado but it was clear that high school soccer in America is more than a sport played by two teams of 11 players — the families, players, and coaches were there representing the pride of their school and community, and everyone was making memories that would last for a lifetime.
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Photo Credit: Diane Scavuzzo