Sunny Hills wins again, claims spot in playoffs
FULLERTON – Two weeks ago, Sunny Hills boys soccer coach Mike Schade said he thought the season was as good as over. The Lancers had to forfeit 11 games, five in the Freeway League, and were in fifth place with just four games to play.
Playoffs? Forget about it.
But on Friday, the Lancers did the unexpected, beating visiting Buena Park 5-0 victory in a third-place playoff game to earn the Freeway League’s final CIF-SS Division 2 postseason qualifying spot.
“It (forfeiting the games) was such a whirlwind. I was trying to deal with our emotions with our team. I thought it was all over with,” Schade said. “Our phrase this season has been ‘unfinished business.’ Hopefully, we will continue with that.”
Kevin Belmonte scored two goals and Gerardo Arias added a goal and two assists for the Lancers. Osiris Garfias gave the Lancers a 1-0 lead in the 30th minute when he knocked in an Arias corner kick.
Hernan Sotello also scored for the Lancers on Friday, giving the junior midfielder three goals in his last two games.
On Jan. 29, the Lancers announced that two players competed on adult league team during the high school season, violating a CIF-SS rule which resulted in the forfeits.
“It (forfeiting the games) was such a whirlwind. I was trying to deal with our emotions,” Schade said. “All season our phrase has been unfinished business. Hopefully, we will continue with that.”
The Lancers scored 75 goals during the regular season, eclipsing the previous single-season school record of 57 goals set during the 1993-94 season.
“After that (the forfeits),” Sunny Hills senior defender Mitchell Bell said, “we just wanted to punish other teams.”
And the Lancers did just that, shutting out three of their next five opponents. Sunny Hills, which has given up just seven goals this season, only let Buena Park have two good looks at the goal.
The first chance for the Coyotes came in the 32nd minute after Freddy Arroyo drew a foul. Cesar Murillo launched a 30-yard free kick to the top of the 6-yard box where David Cortes headed the ball just wide of the left post.
The Coyotes threatened again in the opening minutes of the second half, but Jordan Brinkley was able to stretch out and make a diving save to preserve the shutout for Sunny Hills.
“Everyone is committed to each other on this team. Everyone wants it. Everyone works hard,” he said.