Pointer team members and coaches celebrate their CIF championship in front of students, family and friends after the trophy presentation. / SCOTT HOPKINS / PENINSULA BEACON
Goalkeeper Marley Mascarenas makes a crucial save on Scripps Ranch's fifth and final shooter in the deciding penalty kick rounds. Mascarenas then made the final Pointer shot himself to clinch the title. / SCOTT HOPKINS / PENINSULA BEACON
Pointer players rush towards goalkeeper Marley Mascarenas seconds after he converted a penalty kick in the last of five rounds to defeat St. Augustine in the semifinal round. Mascarenas repeated his feat in the finals as the Pointers won the CIF Div. I title. / SCOTT HOPKINS / PENINSULA BEACON
Pointer Jack Caffo received the CIF Sportsmanship Award for his play in the finals from head coach Elliott Savitz. / SCOTT HOPKINS / PENINSULA BEACON
It was famed New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra who said, "It's like déjá vu all over again." Too bad he never had the opportunity to meet Point Loma High soccer goalkeeper Marley Mascarenas.
Yes, it was the senior with the alliterative name, who saved his teammates from elimination in two consecutive matches over a three-day period to win the Pointers' second CIF title in the past three years. And, to sweeten the latest triumph, it came in Div. I after the Pointers were moved up following their Div. II win in 2015-16.
The Pointers (No. 4 seed) and Western League foe St. Augustine (No. 1 seed) both received first-round byes in the tournament before being forced to meet for the third time this season in the semifinals after two regular-season league matches, both won by the Pointers 2-1 and 1-0.
In this third game, neither team could find the net after playing for 90 minutes (80 minutes of regulation plus a 10-minute sudden death).
When the game went to a final five-round penalty kick format and the Saints scored on the first pair against Mascarenas, Saints fans cheered wildly. But suddenly the Pointers awoke. Going into the fifth round tied at two, Mascarenas made the dramatic last-chance save before calmly picking up the ball and heading to the mark to take the final shot himself.
Pausing a moment to size up the opposing goalkeeper, Mascarenas approached the ball and sent a rocket into the back of the net for the game-winning score as his teammates raced towards him to celebrate.
Just 72 hours later, the Pointers found themselves on the pitch at Mission Bay High's stadium for the CIF final against another Western League opponent, Scripps Ranch (No. 6 seed), who defeated the Pointers in both league encounters during the season by scores of 2-0 and 3-1.
Determined to change that, the Pointers and Falcons moved the ball up and down the field, again highlighted by aggressive play on both sides, collisions and injury stoppages.
Finally, in the 58th minute of play, the Falcons pounced on a loose ball in the penalty box and scored as their fans erupted in cheers at the 1-0 lead.
The Pointers knew they had only 22 minutes to score or face defeat.
It actually took only five minutes as senior Jack Caffo found junior Will Barba in front of the Falcon net, quickly tapping a lateral pass to Barba, who slid into the ball with enough force to propel it into the net, tie the game and ignite his teammates and Pointer fans.
The game and 15-minute overtime ended with this 1-1 score, again going to penalty kicks to determine the CIF champion.
This time, nobody could miss.
For the Pointers, senior Barrett Wolf, junior Chris Bourdon, senior Timmy Mooring and Caffo all found the net as did their counterparts from the Falcons, tying the score at four apiece.
And then, Mascarenas took over.
First, he leaped to his right to make a save on the fifth Falcon shooter as his teammates and Pointer fans yelled their support while the 'keeper calmly picked up the ball.
This time he struck a laser that fooled the Falcon 'keeper, turned to face the stands, raised his hands over his head and dropped to his knees, disappearing under his teammates and hundreds of Pointer fans who rushed the field in a school-wide celebration.
"These boys have been through a pretty rough season," said head coach Elliott Savitz, "so they've been down plenty of times. I was pretty calm and I think the boys were too, knowing we only had to get one opportunity. I don't think they were rattled."
And it turns out Mascarenas wanted to take the final penalty kick badly.
"Marley came into my classroom the day after we lost to Oceanside last year," (a 4-3 penalty kick loss to Oceanside in a state tournament play-in game) Savitz recalled, "And said 'if we get into a shootout situation next year I'm taking a penalty kick.' He was ready for it and confident."
Savitz characterized his team as young but intelligent with high soccer IQ, tenacious around the box, hardworking, focused and aggressive.
The Pointer roster includes five players who played on both championship teams: Mascarenas, Patrick Smith and Ryan Little plus current captains Timmy Mooring and Caffo.
Team members also include Shane Browne, Abraham Aceves, Lorien Bunton, Quentin Maldonado, Ryan Little, Shane Ybarra, Seth Guentner, Mason Berengue, Martin Casas, John Croxson, Luca Queiroz, Jason Donlon, Omar Landeros, Julian Barossi, Zane Sieger and Patrick Smith.
Savitz's assistant coaches include Duarte Andrade and former player David Lopez.
Mascarenas will continue his career at USD.
Wolf was named to the All-CIF second team, the only Pointer recognized.
Savitz teaches history, AVID and ESL at PLHS.
The Pointers won their first state playoff game 3-0 over Aliso Niguel before their season was ended in a 3-1 loss to Sotomayor (Los Angeles).