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Sunny Hills' defense shuts down Kennedy in Summer League triumph
FULLERTON - The Sunny Hills boys soccer team wasn't itself in its first two summer league games.
The Lancers gave up three goals. Sunny Hills still won, but three is a large number for this team that prides itself on defense to the point of stitching NGA to their shorts, standing for no goals allowed.
"We have got some holes this year," Sunny Hills coach Mike Schade said.
Kennedy, however, didn't find them on Thursday as the Lancers posted their first shutout of the season, defeating the Fighting Irish, 1-0.
Kevin Perez scored the game winner of the Lancers on a counter attack in the 13th minute.
"We always hope to be great defensively, or at least be willing to play it," Schade said. "But after the first two games, I thought maybe our approach now has to be scoring more goals than the other team."
The Lancers have have knocked in six in three games this week, and appear to be a step or two quicker than they were last year on the wings. Sophomore Bronny Toledo, a starter on last year's team that made it to the CIF-SS Division 2 semifinals, made several good runs down the left, and in the 40th minute he sent a cross to the middle of the box where Perez headed it just over the crossbar.
"I might have to approach this season differently, and no one would have believed that with how well we have played defense," Schade said.
The Lancers did let the Fighting Irish have quite a bit of space at times in the final third at times, and in the 45th minute, Daniel Martinez had to come up with a sliding save near to the top of the box to preserve the shutout.
There are 66 players in the summer program, but Schade lost four starters from last year's playoff team to graduation.
"That hit us hard, they were great leaders, but the guys that have been in the program for the past several years seem to be picking up where they left off," Schade said. "It is nice to see that kind of progression."