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Sunny Hills wins summer league championship
FULLERTON – Sunny Hills boys soccer coach Mike Schade was coming back from making an ill-timed, last second trip to his truck when he heard the cheer. And with Jordan Brinkley playing in goal for the Lancers, Schade knew that could only mean one thing – the Lancers had reached the goal that they had set at the beginning of summer league.
“He is just like money. He’s fabulous,” Schade said. “When I was going to my truck, I had a feeling that he was going to block it.”
Brinkley actually stopped two South Hills penalty kicks after the teams played to a scoreless tie on Monday, and the host Lancers won their first Sunny Hills Summer League championship since 2007, edging South Hills, 3-1, in Pk’s. Another Huskies’ penalty kick sailed high over the crossbar.
“In the spring when we came together to start getting ready for summer, we didn’t just want to enter the tournament. We wanted to come out and do this,” Schade said. “To do that, we had to have a great showing by each individual player.”
Sunny Hills’ junior center midfielder Hernan Sotello was selected the tournament MVP after knocking in one of the Lancers’ three PK’s. His was quite an important one, however, as the Lancers failed to convert on their first attempt.
Sotello also scored the game-winner in the semifinals earlier in the day to help Sunny Hills beat Anaheim, 2-0, which was the Lancers’ 10th shutout of the tournament.
Sunny Hills allowed the fewest goals in summer league, giving up just three in 13 games to finish with a 0.23 goals against average. Sunny Hills shutout all three of their playoff opponents – Troy, Anaheim and South Hills – and outscored them, 4-0.
This tournament was a bit unusual for the Lancers, though. For the past few seasons, a well-organized defense led by All County second teamer Mitchell Bell and Brinkley has been the strength of the Lancers. But in this edition of the Sunny Hills Summer League, the Lancers became a bit more dangerous in the attacking third, scoring 17 goals in 13 games. The Lancers had five multiple goals games, including two in which they finished with three goals. In the championship match, Sunny Hills out shot South Hills, 13-2.
Diego Gonzalez came very close to setting up a few Sunny Hills goals in the second half, taking the ball deep into the left corner before putting a cross right at the top of the 6-yard box. But twice South Hills blocked the Lancers’ shot. The other time, the ball flew just over the cross bar.
“We played well. South Hills deserved to be here,” Schade said. The Huskies finished pool play with 15 points and held on to first place until Sunny Hills passed them up on the last day.
“They are a well coached, well organized team,” Schade said. “The ball movement … the tempo … it was great by Sunny Hills.”