By Gideon Rubin
Torrey Pines capped off an unforgettable season with an amazing finish.
Just a week after winning the San Diego Section Division I title, the Falcons claimed the Southern California regional championship with a decisive 5-2 victory over Bullard of Fresno in the March 12 Div. I title game at Warren High of Downey.
The regional championship marked the end of longtime coach Dennis Costello’s career at the Falcons’ helm.
Costello ranks this year’s team among the best he’s ever coached since taking over the program in 1986. He started out as an assistant a year before that.
Several players have publicly stated that sending Costello off a winner fueled the Falcons’ postseason run.
“They can play for me, but the way I look at it as they played for themselves because this is something they’ll have for the rest of their lives,” Costello said. “Everything they’ve done for me I’m certainly appreciative, but they’re saying this is for (me) and I’m saying this is for them, so I guess everything balances out.”
The regional championship game followed a 4-1 win against Ayala of Chino Hills on March 8 and a 3-0 victory over El Camino Real of Woodland Hills two days later.
UCLA-bound Kylie McCarthy had a game for the ages, scoring four goals to lead the Falcons.
Two-sport star Katie Trees, who’s headed to Duke to play soccer and lacrosse, scored one goal in the last game of her storied Falcons soccer career.
Olivia Buechler, Jackie Friedman and Nicole Sherwin each had one assist.
Friedman, McCarthy, Trees and Courtney Massimino each scored one goal and Alexandra Bailey had two assists to lead the Falcons in the Ayala game.
Falcons goalie Heather Schlesier had four saves.
Buechler, Trees and Massimino each scored one goal and Bailey had two assists in the ECR game.
Falcons goalie Hunter Rittgers had four saves.
The Falcons won their last nine games and were unbeaten in their last 11 as they improved their overall record for the season to 23-2-4.
They outscored their opponents by a combined 93-19.
“We just sort of built into a very, very good team,” Costello said. “We started off as individuals, you’ve got players coming in from all over the place, and the whole idea is to try to blend them as one, and game by game they just got better.
“They really played exceptionally well in the playoffs, from the finals against Poway in the (San Diego Section) finals right through to the (regional) finals.”
A year after graduating left-handed pitching sensation Michael Fagan, a fresh new crop of San Diego Jewish Academy players seem to be filling in just fine for the Lions
SDJA on March 10 overcame a four-run deficit in an 11-5 victory over High Tech in the nonleague Eagles tournament.
The win improved the Lions overall record for the season to 3-0 in the post-Fagan era.
Fagan, the school’s record holder in nearly all meaningful pitching categories, is now playing Division I ball at Princeton.