SAN ANTONIO — The match could have been played on the grass at Moorpark College, or on the hardwood of a skating rink in Port Hueneme.
Similar contests have.
When the West met the South in men's field hockey, it resembled an intrasquad matchup.
Of the 30 participants in Saturday night's match, 21 were from Ventura County and another from Northridge. Many of them have trained together for years.
In two instances, the competition split families. The Horrocks of Newbury Park had Jason on the South and Jeff on the West. The Hoangs of Westlake Village had Sammy on the South and Binh on the West.
The match at Trinity University ended in a 1-1 tie.
Both goals were scored in the final 1 minute 15 seconds.
The South's Mark Ruvalcaba scored first, beating goalie Tom Vano by flipping a shot off his pad and into the net. Eric Holtz scored for the West with four seconds left, beating goalie Alex Stewart, on assists from Larry Amar and Jeff Horrocks.
Amar is from Camarillo, Horrocks from Newbury Park and Holtz is from Simi Valley.
Stewart also is from Simi Valley, as is Vano, the West goalie.
So much for the element of surprise.
"That's the problem," said Holtz, who was twice thwarted by Stewart. "Everybody knows everyone else's moves."
Ruvalcaba, a U.S. national team member from Newbury Park, said the difference is experimenting at an opportune moment.
"If you do have something new, the trick is to use it at the right time," he said.
His goal, however, was simply reaction.
"I was going to pass, but my teammates were yelling to drive for the goal," Ruvalcaba said. "No one came to me, so I decided to go in further."
Ruvalcaba didn't seem too disappointed by the tie.
"On the field, it's man on man and maybe you don't like the guy across from you," he said, "but after the match, we're a family.
"That's what we are. A hockey family. And we all have one thing in common: to show the world we belong in the 1996 Olympics."
The road to Atlanta, it seems, begins somewhere in eastern Ventura County.