Prep Preview: Hillcrest @ Colton

I’m covering the Riverside Hillcrest-Colton girls varsity CIF-Southern Section Division 5 Wildcard Round playoff game today, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2016, for The Press-Enterprise, pe.com & @PEcom_preps.

The best part of this assignment is it got pushed back from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.! That, and Colton has some talented players worth a second look.

HillcrestLOGOTHE LOW DOWN:
Riverside Hillcrest (10-6-5 overall, 5-1-4 River Valley) is making its first ever playoff appearance, entering as the No. 3 team from the RVL. This is just the second varsity season for Hillcrest, which opened Fall 2013. The Trojans have their second varsity coach in two seasons, with Arturo Avina replacing Eliseo Rodriguez, who missed the playoffs despite a respectable 4-3-3 league record last season. Statistics are scarce for Hillcrest but sophomore Medhali Hernandez had five goals and two assists after an 8-0 nonleague victory over San Bernardino Indian Springs early in the season.

ColtonLOGOColton (13-6-4 overall, 5-4-1 Sunkist) in the postseason for the second time in four seasons under Coach Manuel Flores, qualifying as the No. 3 team from the Sunkist League. The Yellowjackets’ only other playoff appearance with Flores (a 3-0 loss at Paloma Valley two seasons ago) didn’t go so well so coach and players will be motivated to change the programs’ current fortunes with a home playoff victory. Sophomore midfielder Rosa Castaneda led the team with 11 goals playing in behind talented forward Melanie Lopez (six goals) and pairing with a number of underclassmen for 40 regular-season goals. All the Jackets’ youth is supplemented by an experienced defense backed by senior goalkeeper Maria-Ximena Vasquez.

IMPORTANT PLAYERS:
Hillcrest
— GK Kerstin Lecon (Soph.); MF Brianna Gausden (Sr.); MF Kimberly Caro (Jr.); MF Alexa Lopez (Sr.); F Medhali Hernandez (Soph.)

Colton — GK Maria-Ximena Vasquez (Sr.); D Kayla Fortunado (Sr.); D Brittany Chavez (Sr.); MF Marisa Martinez (Sr.); MF Odbulia Loria (Sr.); MF Rosa Castaneda (Soph.); F Melanie Lopez (Sr.); F Ashley Meza (Fr.)

THE DIFFERENCE:
Colton’s experience and depth will be difficult to overcome for Hillcrest, which will need to find an answer for Castaneda and the Yellowjackets’ attacking left side.

THE FINAL SCORE:
Colton 3, Hillcrest 1

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