Boys Water Polo All-Area: Nogales’ Nick Estevez and coach Alex Matal sweep top honors

Player of the Year: Nick Estevez, Nogales, Junior
Coach of the Year: Alex Matal, Nogales

By Steve Ramirez
This now is a world in which Nogales High School is a CIF-Southern Section boys water polo champion. The Nobles couldn’t say that before but it all changed, partly because of junior Nick Estevez and coach Alex Matal, who were named All-Area Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively. The rest of the first team features Nogales’ Daniel Morales and Christiaan Ortiz; Damien’s Johnny Beal, Eric Osterberg and Adam Sarrail; Bonita’s Alec Williams and Walnut’s Danny Overstreet. But this will be remembered as the year of Nogales. The Nobles, with Estevez leading the way, won a league title for the first time in 22 years and their first division title in school history. (To continue, click thread)

First Team
Danny Morales, Nogales, Senior
Adam Sarrail, Damien, Junior
Johnny Beal, Damien, Senior
Eric Osterberg, Damien, Senior
Danny Overstreet, Walnut, Senior
Alec Williams, Bonita, Senior
Christiaan Ortiz, Nogales, Junior
Second Team
Brandon Cheng, Wilson, Junior
Keaton Renta, Bonita, Junior
Second Team
Brandon Cheng, Wilson, Junior
Keaton Renta, Bonita, Junior
Kyle Garwick, Damien, Sophomore
Austin Miller, Damien, Junior
Ramon Sanchez, Nogales, Junior
Alex Arias, Walnut, Senior
Doug Marriott, Walnut, Junior
Alex Munson, Bonita, Junior

“This season has exceeded our greatest expectations,” said Estevez, who also was Valle Vista League co-MVP and first-team All-Division 7. “It wasn’t long into the season before we realized that not only was a league title in our reach but a division title as well.”

The Nobles went undefeated in the Valle Vista League and earned their first CIF-SS title with a 15-8 victory over No. 1 seed Santa Ynez. Estevez, who had been Nogales’ top option most of the season, scored four goals in the victory.

“Once we clinched our school’s first league title in over 20 years, our battle for the Division 7 championship began,” Estevez said. “Our school could not have been more supportive of our team as we fought our way to the top.”

Matal, who also was coach of the year last season after leading Nogales to their first playoff berth in 15 years, has built the Nobles into a solid program. Nogales finished an area-leading 31-2 and had a 21-game winning streak.

“Winning our first league title in 22 years and our first division title validated the countless hours of practice, dedication and sacrifices made by our players, parents and coaching staff,” Matal said. “Our goals this year were to compete for our league title and (make) a deep playoff run. Our focus was always one game at a time and play our best water polo as a team.

“Winning the title exceeded the expectations of everyone, and it was the perfect way to end our incredible season.”

Here’s a brief look at the rest of the first team:

Danny Morales, Nogales: The senior fought back after an injury earlier in the season to help lead the Nobles to their first division title. He came up big in the playoff run and scored a game-high six goals in the 15-8 victory over Santa Ynez in the championship game. He was Division 7 Player of the Year and first-team All-Valle Vista.

Christiaan Ortiz, Nogales: The junior was steady in goal and stopped 14 shots in the division final. He also was first-team All-Division 7 and All-Valle Vista League.

Adam Sarrail, Damien: The junior was one of two Spartans to score more than 90 goals and sparked their run to the Division 3 final, where they lost to Laguna Beach. Sarrail also was first-team All-Division 3 and Sierra League co-MVP.

Johnny Beal, Damien: The senior, along with Sarrail, led the Spartans to the division finals. Beal, who had a team-high three goals in the championship game, was the quarterback of Damien’s offense and set a school record for assists. He was first-team All-Division 3 and Sierra League co-MVP with Sarrail.

Eric Osterberg, Damien: The senior was the third leg of the Spartans’ three-headed monster and, along with Sarrail, was one of two players with at least 90 goals. He was first-team All-Sierra League.

Alec Williams, Bonita: The senior was the catalyst in Bonita’s run to the Division 5 semifinal, where it lost to La Serna. He earned league MVP honors for the third consecutive season after leading the Bearcats to an undefeated Hacienda League season that included a sweep of traditional power Walnut. This year’s All-Area honor marked his third consecutive time on the All-Area team, and he was first-team All-CIF-SS for the second season in a row. He also was second-team All-CIF in 2008.

Danny Overstreet, Walnut: The senior was the top option for the Mustangs, who finished second in the Hacienda League and advanced two rounds in the CIF-SS Division 5 playoffs. Overstreet was first-team All-Division 5 and All-Hacienda League.

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