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Vega flawless as Garden Grove defeats Jurupa Valley

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

FONTANA - The curious thing about Garden Grove’s 1-0 CIF-SS Division 5 semifinals win at Jurupa Hills on Tuesday afternoon was the evaluation of Argonauts goalkeeper Jose Vega.

Jurupa Valley surrendered a first-half free-kick goal to Elian Arreola, the only scoring in a battle for this week’s spot in the championship match.

Everything else was Vega.

“I didn’t think we tested him all that much,” said Jurupa Hills coach Armando Fresquez. “I thought we made it easy on him. Everything we struck went right to him.”

While Vega, who averages 2-3 stops a match, knocked down nine shots from Jurupa Hills, there were a trio of last-gasp efforts coming from the Spartans. Two came from Eligio Ibarra, a pair of blasts taken between 15 and 20 yards that Vega stopped.

Then there was Ernesto Cruz’s free-kick blast from midfield with just seconds left, a scramble in the box from which Vega appeared to punch the ball out of the danger zone.

“They had a lot of fast forwards,” said Vega, a sophomore, “maybe the best we’ve seen.”

Said Argonauts coach Matt Grenert: “I’ve been coaching 13 years. He’s the most technically sound goalie I’ve ever coached. I worry about him going to a bigger (high) school someday.

“He’ll be on TV someday.”

While Vega was stopping everything, he got a fortunate bounce on a first-half blast from Leamzy Valdez, which hit the crossbar, caroming back to Victor Mendoza for a blast over the goal.

A rather large Jurupa Hills crowd, sensing a goal, might have seen the Spartans’ best opportunity.

While Jurupa Hills (16-7-2) outshot the visiting Argonauts (14-7-3), 11-3, Vega stopped all other attacks.

On the game’s only goal, Arreola said he had practiced similar shots one day earlier at practice. A teammate argued with him on just who would take the shot.

“I got it,” he told his mate. His shot found the left corner with Jurupa Hills freshman goalie Adrian Estrada getting his hand on it, unable to keep it out.

“Soccer’s like that,” Fresquez said. “It goes one way one minute and another way the next minute.”


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