The Division 1 Middle School Championship Game featured a battle between the #1 seed, Rancho Santa Fe Eagles (9-3), and the #2 seed, San Marcos Warriors, (8-3). After splitting their two regular season contests this match-up between the Torrey Pines High School and San Marcos High School feeder programs could have gone either way. The Eagles’ Brad Lienhart started off the scoring for the day on a nice assist from Blake Erlbeck. San Marcos midfielder, Luca Lietti, responded by scoring a Warriors buzzer beater to end the first quarter knotted 1-1. Miles Botkiss put Rancho Santa Fe back up one after hitting top shelf to start the second quarter. After a slash by Eagles defender, Charlie Mossy, the Warriors’ Sean Sanchez, took advantage of a man-up opportunity and tied the game at 2-2. Sanchez then scored again to give the Warriors their first lead, 3-2. On the next possession, Eagles’ midfielder, Chase LaDrido, responded by putting the equalizer in the back of the cage to bring the game all level yet again. Botkiss then found Oliver Mirer cutting bottom right for the score and the pair repeat that play thirty seconds later to put the Eagles up 5-3. Porter Hollen hit from what seemed like MLL 2-point range and Lienhart added his second goal of the day to end the first half with the Eagles leading the Warriors 7-3.
Future Torrey Pines Falcon, Michael Mines started the second half scoring by hitting with his off hand to put Rancho Santa Fe up 8-4. Sanchez then narrowed the difference to three again by cutting sharply, finding space on the crease and getting his hat trick on a great pass from the Warriors’ and future San Marcos Knight, Mason Manimtim. The Eagles answer with a goal from Erlbeck, assisted by Mines but the Warriors would not go away as Mitchell Seipt fired a laser from 20 yards out. Sanchez, having his way all day, scored on a beautiful runner down the alley, making it 9-7 after 3 quarters of play. In the 4th, Mines found Lienhart to make it 10 for the Eagles. Sanchez then did his best Miles Thompson impression by hitting an insane scoop shot to make it 10-8. Thomas Notarainni kept the pressure on with an outside shot to push the Eagles lead back to three, 11-8. In the end the Eagles had too much firepower, pulling away by scoring the final 3 goals of the game and bringing the Championship back to Rancho Santa Fe with a 14-8 win.
Submitted to MaxLaxSD.com by Richard Collier