Within the gloaming of a soccer stadium within the Tierrasanta neighborhood of San Diego, the markings on the competitors floor nonetheless say “Serra,” with a big caricature of a conquistador, painted in brown and gold. This contrasts with the truth that the house staff’s subject hockey uniforms are trimmed in black and crimson, representing the renamed Rattlers of San Diego Canyon Hills (Calif.).
With a whistle and a whoop from visiting Poway (Calif.), Canyon Hills dropped its opening spherical match of the CIF San Diego Part Match.
What this additionally does is finish the profession of Canyon Hills head coach Laurie Berger, a real teaching legend within the sport. Berger has labored on the left coast for many years, successful 878 video games and 17 sectional championships.
She has additionally helped promote the game with a novel in-season match, the Canyon Hills/Serra Match. It’s distinctive in that the competitors is held over two consecutive weekends, with groups obligated to play three video games in a day. The primary weekend is group play with 4 groups in 4 teams every. The next weekend is knockout play, with the highest two groups in every group filling out an eight-team bracket for a champion.
Nowhere in the remainder of the U.S. subject hockey calendar does such a match exist.
The winner of the Canyon Hills/Serra Match is often the staff that turns into the favourite to win the postseason, whether or not it’s one sectional match, two (because it was for a number of years), or the present three-bracket system, with an Open, Division I, and Division II match.
Canyon Hills misplaced the 2021 match to neighboring San Diego Scripps Ranch (Calif.) by a 1-0 rating, so Berger needed to know that her staff must lengthen itself so as to enhance and make a deep run on this week’s match.
However on this 12 months of change, one which noticed a reputation change for the college and a shortened winter/spring subject hockey season, it’s maybe becoming that an surprising challenger got here out forward on this night.
Berger says she’ll nonetheless have her hand within the sport, working the Canyon Hills/Serra Invitational after her retirement as coach.
“Nobody is aware of learn how to run my match,” she tells The San Diego Union-Tribune. “I simply need individuals to know we’ve got a superb program and there was not simply one thing within the water in Tierrasanta. The women labored actually arduous to make this all occur.”
More true phrases have been by no means spoken. From Staff USA’s Kris Fillat to Cal-Berkeley star Megan Rodgers, Berger has helped develop a variety of super gamers over time. And she or he has fielded super groups, which has sparked different groups in San Diego County to lift their sport.
That, I believe, is Laurie Berger’s biggest affect. With out Serra’s excellence, you wouldn’t have the present three-prong rivalry of Canyon Hills, Scripps Ranch, and San Diego Torrey Pines (Calif.). With out Berger, you won’t have seen the purple patch of type that Escondido San Pasqual (Calif.) had within the Nineties. With out this system pushing the boundaries, you wouldn’t have seen new groups make an affect like San Diego Canyon Crest Academy (Calif.).
And also you won’t have seen a sleeper staff like Poway come by means of prefer it did tonight.