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ARMANDO BROWN, FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Whittier's Arturo Ruiz (11) and Jorge Echeverria of Sunny Hills go up to head the ball during Wednesday's Brea Wildcat Classic game at Brea Olinda High.

Sunny Hills cruises past Whittier in Wildcat Cup

OCVARSITY.COM

Over the years, the Sunny Hills boys soccer team has built a reputation of being extremely difficult to break down in the defensive third, shutting out its opponents with intimidating regularity.

Even though they return one of the best center backs in the county in Mitchell Bell and have Jordan Brinkley, a varsity starter for three and a half seasons, in goal, the Lancers offense just might turn out to be their best defense this season.

Sunny Hills dominated the time of possession in Wednesday’s Wildcat Cup pool play game, scored four goals in the first half and eventually cruised to a 6-1 victory against Whittier at Brea Olinda High.

Gerardo Arias, who rejoins the Lancers after taking a season off, finished with a goal and two assists.

Arias is usually a midfielder, but on Wednesday night, Sunny Hills coach Mike Schade played Arias up top because he still lacks a bit of fitness as he was not on the Lancers’ summer league roster.

“Whittier has good players and size. I just don’t think they were ready yet. We have been working hard,” Schade said. “Having Gerardo in that striker position helps us. Now that he is back with us, he is lifting weights and doing all the things that he has to do. We are happy to have him.”

In the 31st minute, Arias found plenty of space in the middle of the penalty area, and with one-touch redirected a pass from Hernan Sotello to put the Lancers up, 3-0.

But by that time, the Lancers had taken control of the game, scoring two goals in the first 10 minutes.

The first one came in the 6th minute when Jorge Echeverria launched a corner kick over everyone’s head and right into the goal. Then three minutes later Osiris Garfias knocked in what turned out to be the game winner.  Whittier scored off a penalty kick in the second half after Sunny Hills was called for a handball in the box.

“We are different this year. We are more skillful. We will always be organized and we will always play defense,” Schade said. “But we are able to move the ball now.”

Arias played a role the Lancers’ last four goals. After he scored, Sotello turned an Arias cross into a goal.

Then, in the 47th minute Arias fired a 35-yard free kick at Whittier’s’ goal. The shot was so hard, Whittier’s’ keeper couldn’t hang on to the ball, the it rolled free in the box until Jason Arriaga knocked it in. Finally, Ramon Serrano deflected the ball into the goal after an Arias shot hit him in the back.

Schade carries 24 players on his roster. He used 23 of them Wednesday night.

“That is nice when you can do that. When we got to the fifth goal, I was subbing like crazy,” Schade said. “Our league (Freeway) is so competitive, you don’t get to do that much.”

In other boys soccer:

Fountain Valley 3, Santa Ana 1: Jesus Payan scored two goals in the second half to lead the visiting Barons (1-0) to the nonleague victory.

No. 2 Marina 3, Westminster 0: Austin Case, Reid Fisher and Logan Mooney all scored for the host Vikings (5-0-1) in the nonleague match.


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