The Pointers were automatically moved up to Div. I, home of the 20 best soccer teams in San Diego and Imperial counties. The top eight of those 20 become the Open (highest) Division in playoffs, while the other 12 become Div. I. The result?
The 2017 team, playing a difficult schedule, earned a place in this year's Open Division playoffs comprising the eight "best of the best" teams in the local CIF.
"I think the boys' confidence was very high after last year," said Pointer head coach Elliott Savitz. "Our strength of schedule was very good and then we had a good first part of the season in which we went 7-1 against some good Div. I teams. The results from last year continuing to this year gave the boys a belief we could be consistent with top teams."
Savitz led his team to an overall record of 10-6-4 (2-2-4 in Western League) before earning a No. 4 seed in his sport's toughest prep tournament in town.
Their opening quarterfinal game was against rival Cathedral Catholic, whose lower No. 5 seed gave the Pointers the home game. The Dons and Pointers had met twice during league play, with the Pointers scoring a 1-0 win in January and the teams battling to a 1-1 tie in mid-February. Both games were played on the Dons' pitch.
This time, the Pointers were ready.
Behind a pair of goals from senior Adrian Marmol and single goals by seniors Oscar Borjon and Kian Meyer, the Pointers administered a 4-0 whipping in a statement game that eliminated the visitors from the playoffs.
Meyer, who has committed to Cal State Dominguez Hills, also added two assists and another assist went to junior Timmy Mooring.
With the victory, the Pointers moved on to the semifinal game against No. 1 seed St. Augustine (11-2-8 overall, 3-1-4 in Western League) on Tuesday, Feb. 28. After playing 95 minutes of scoreless soccer, the Pointers lost to St. Augustine 3-1 in penalty kicks.
"We've seen both Saints and (No. 2) Coronado in league," Savitz noted, "and both of them are very strong teams physically who play a good brand of soccer. I think every game is 50-50 at this stage."
The Saints defeated the Pointers 3-0 at Point Loma in January, but the teams battled to a scoreless tie when they met again at Saints in February.
The other semifinal game matches No. 2 Coronado and No. 6 Oceanside with the winners meeting March 3 at Mesa College to determine a champion.
The Pointers won eight games this season by shutout, making defense a team strength.
"Four of our backs have been playing together for three years and our goalkeeper for two," Savitz said, "so they've got a ton of experience. They've played Cathedral and Saints twice a year and have been very consistent."
Those players are junior goalkeeper Marley Mascarenas and seniors Jerzy Piotrowski, Max De La Torre, Aidan Yackly, Issac Maya and Mooring.
"Our boys enjoy playing together," Savitz said. "A lot of them have grown up together, are familiar with each other, and they all enjoy being a part of this program. They are extremely hard workers and very coachable."