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Sunny Hills scores late, beats Brea Olinda
FULLERTON – For the past few seasons, Sunny Hills has won because of defense, so it really wasn’t much of a surprise that the host Lancers shut down Brea Olinda on Monday, preventing the Wildcats from taking a single shot in this Sunny Hills Summer League match.
But instead of playing the game mostly in the midfield, as was the case last season, the Lancers pushed up the field, and put four crosses right in front of the goal at the far post.
Right now, though, Sunny Hills coach Mike Schade said he’s still looking for a good finishing forward much like he had a couple of seasons ago in Sung Moon. So each one of those four crosses turned into another ball that sailed out of play, and the game remained scoreless with just two minutes to go in the second half.
That’s when Hernan Sotello sent a 30-yard free kick flying to the top of the 6-yard box. The Wildcats turned away the Lancers first shot, but Jared Villaescusa was waiting to collect the rebound and deliver a 1-0 victory for Sunny Hills.
The Lancers have allowed only one goal in three summer league matches which amounts to 180 minutes of soccer. The Lancers have yet to be shutout during the month-long tournament as they have scored one goal in each of their games. Sunny Hills took 11 shots on Monday; however, only four of them were on target.
“We are going forward now, and that is the name of the game,” Schade said. “I just wish we had that one impact forward … that guy that scares everybody. Defense is easy. It’s all about heart and desire. Attacking soccer takes time and training.”
Defense, Schade said, will likely be the strength of this team once again as he returns four starters from last year’s team that shut out five Freeway League opponents, posting a 0.7 goals against average during that span.
Senior defender Mitchell Bell and senior goalkeeper Jordan Brinkley are among them. Both are four-year varsity players. He did lose one of his defenders from last season. He transferred to a military school, and Schade said he doesn’t know if he has the depth to build a back line as strong as the one he fielded last year.
“We have always focused on defense first. We have a come and sit down if you can’t defend mentality around here, and the kids have been really good at buying into that,” Schade said. “As a team we are playing pretty good defense. We invested a lot in our defensive development last year, and then we lose that one kid, but we start over.”