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After About Face, Estancia Still Qualifies

February 13, 2001|DAVE McKIBBEN

Last year at this time, Estancia High was riding into the Southern Section playoffs as the top-seeded team in Division IV and one of most prolific scoring teams in Orange County history.

Monday, Estancia Coach Steve Crenshaw had to call the section office to see if his fourth-place team would even get an at-large bid. By early afternoon, Crenshaw learned that the Eagles would be given a chance to defend their Division IV title.

"I was worried because you never know whether they'll have at-large berths or not," Crenshaw said. "It's been a struggle this year."

The Eagles (9-4-5 overall, 5-2-3 in the Pacific Coast League), who returned one starter from their title team, finished the season by tying Northwood, 0-0, and University, 1-1. But they were given the division's only at-large berth because of their No. 2 ranking in the section poll.

Estancia plays Cerritos Valley Christian, the Olympic League's No. 1 team, in the first round on Saturday. If the Eagles win, they would probably play fourth-seeded Pomona Diamond Ranch in the second round.

Crenshaw, who starts six sophomores, isn't ruling out another championship. But he realizes his team won't go far unless it starts scoring goals. Sophomore Javier Millan leads the team with eight goals and sophomore Juan Zarate and Armando Ortiz have six each. Last year, Esaul Mendoza and Cesar Terrones combined to score nearly 80.

"I don't know that we'll ever have a season like last year," he said. "The two guys up front [Mendoza and Terrones] were as good as we've ever had. We've got guys that know how to score goals now, but they've just got to find a reason to do it."


Last year, Huntington Beach of the Sunset League was the best team in the county not to qualify for the playoffs. This year, it's Marina.

The Vikings, who were ranked 10th in the county coaches' poll last week, won four of its last five games to finish 14-7-2 overall and 5-5 in the Sunset League. But they ended the season with a 2-0 loss to Fountain Valley, which claimed third place and the league's last automatic bid.

That left Marina Coach Jeff Scholfield hoping for an at-large berth. But like last year, the section did not award any in Division I, II or III.

"I thought if they did have any at-large bids," Scholfield said, "it would be us."


Dana Hills, the county's top-ranked team, lost Thursday at home to El Toro, 2-1. It was only the second loss of the season for the Dolphins and their first in the South Coast League; however, it did not cost them the No. 1 seeding in the Division I playoffs. The Dolphins (20-2-3) open at home on Saturday against Paramount or Alhambra.

Los Alamitos (16-2-5), which won the Sunset League and finished fifth in the county, didn't get much respect from the section's seeding committee. The Griffins could play Temecula Valley, ranked eighth in the last Division I poll, in the second round and third-seeded Capistrano Valley (20-4-5) in the quarterfinals.

El Dorado (20-1-2) was the county's other top-seeded team, in Division III.

Wild-card games will be played Wednesday and the first round begins Saturday.


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Final Orange County Sportswriters' Poll


Pos. School (League) Rec 1. Dana Hills (South Coast) 20-2-3 2. Santa Margarita (Serra) 19-4-3 3. El Dorado (Empire) 20-1-2 4. Mater Dei (Serra) 20-2-4 5. Los Alamitos (Sunset) 16-2-5 6. Capistrano Valley (South Coast) 20-4-5 7. Huntington Beach (Sunset) 11-6-1 8. Fountain Valley (Sunset) 11-5-6 9. Brea (Orange) 22-1-3 10. Woodbridge (Sea View) 17-4-4


Others: Costa Mesa (12-5-2), Esperanza (14-5-4), Foothill (15-7-3), Marina (14-7-4), Sonora (16-4-2)

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