Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Lancers battle back to advance after beating Tritons in penalty shootout.

The Sunny Hills Lancers advance to the second round of the CIF Division 1 Southern Section playoffs after coming from behind from the brink of elimination in a penalty shootout to beat the San Clemente Tritons Monday.

Throughout the game, including two overtime periods, it was not ineffective offensive play that the kept the game scoreless but rather defensive and goalkeeping play

Freshman Goalkeeper Richard Orihuela made his mark on the game early for the Lancers when he made a diving deflection on a powerful header off a corner kick by a Tritons player

Just a few minutes after Orihuela’s save, the Tritons, who had control of possession in the first quarter hour of the game, forced another big play by a Lancer early on.

Junior defender Raymond Avalos kept the game tied when he cleared a cross turned shot by San Clemente near the Lancers goal.

Sunny Hills (18-6-3) may not have had control of the ball or more scoring chances early on, but they did produce one of the clearest scoring chances of the game.

The Lancers almost pulled ahead when a low cross by midfielder Herminio Padilla Jr.  culminated in a one-touch strike by midfielder Randy Perez from just a few feet away from the goal that went off the post of the Tritons goal.

As the half neared its midway point possession became more evenly split between the two division 1 teams, and Tritons goalkeeper Cameron Dickie was forced into action.

Dickie made his mark on the game after coming out of his goal to deflect away a shot from Lancers forward Bronny Toledo, who had caught up to a pass by Brandon Toledo that was placed past the Tritons defense, in what was a one-on-one scoring opportunity.

Other than a few key saves, the goalkeepers for both teams weren’t in constant action in the half due to consistent and effective clearing,blocking, and stealing by both Lancer and Triton defenders.

Few shots that didn’t go well wide or over the goal, passes, or crosses in either team’s final third went uncontested and undealt with.

The second half began with the Tritons (11-7-6) exerting offensive pressure on the Lancers through possession in the Lancers half which led to Sunny Hills having to utilize a defensive setup to stymie the Tritons offensive intensity.

Although the Lancers spent the early minutes of the half clearing crosses and blocking shots, Lancers forward Diego Useda had an opportunity to put them ahead.

The Junior forward made a dribble from midfield into the Tritons penalty box, and took a strike that would of opened up the scoring in the game if not for Dickie who stretched out and dove to keep it out.

In similar fashion to the opening half, San Clemente controlled possession for an extended portion of the second half.

The Lancers defensive efforts made the Tritons possession meaningless in regard to the scoreline.

With the Lancers defending compactly and repeatedly responding to build up play on the ground effectively with clearances and interceptions, the Tritons tried playing to the air to find the go-ahead goal on multiple occasions in the half.

Sunny Hills defense, led by Jose Amaya and Eric Solis, for the most part won the battle for the ball in the air and headed if not kicked away almost every aerial offensive attempt by San Clemente.

The rare chances the Tritons were able to make through the air or ground were either collected by Orihuela or off target.

Somewhat against pattern of play Sunny Hills had the best scoring opportunity of the half as regulation time neared it’s conclusion.

After a few flashes of technical skill by Useda, including nutmegging a Tritons defender, to get through the heart of San Clemente’s defense, the forward was through on goal with only Dickie left to get the ball past.

The senior goalkeeper rushed out to challenge Useda as he neared the top of the penalty box and like before in the game he stopped the forwards strike from going in and kept the playoff match scoreless.

As the game entered overtime it was evident an extraordinary play would be needed to break the stalemate.

That extraordinary play almost came to realization when near the end of the first overtime a powerfully placed strike by Tritons player Kaleb Schirmacher looked to be headed just under the top post and into the Lancers goal.

Instead of an extraordinary goal to break the stalemate, an extraordinary save kept the game even.

Orihuela reacted to Schirmacher’s strike with an near perfectly timed acrobatic dive to send the ball just a few feet if not inches over the goal and keep his team from falling behind.

Other than a diving punch from Dickie to keep Useda from getting a chance to score on an open net, neither team had a clear chance in the second half overtime.

Overtime came and went without either team making a difference, which meant a penalty kick shootout was the only way to separate the teams.

Before the shootout started San Clemente made a goalkeeper change and brought in Junior Jake Carter.

After both teams converted from the spot in the first round of the shootout, the second went much differently for one of the playoff sides.

The Tritons’ keeper switch paid dividends when Carter correctly guessed which side Lancers Senior Hugo Quiroz would aim for and saved his spot kick.

After the Tritons scored from the spot again to go up 3-1 in the shootout, Amaury Maldonado stepped up for the Lancers to try and keep them close.

Although Maldonado’s kick was not saved by Carter, it went well over the goal and the Lancers remained down 3-1 and the fate of their season was left to be decided by the Tritons next kick.

Senior Michael Saba stepped up for the Tritons With the opportunity to put an end the shootout and send them into the next round.

Orihuela stepped up for the Lancers and saved Saba’s spot kick to keep the Lancers season alive, at least momentarily.

Junior Midfielder Giovanni Ortiz took the crucial fourth kick for the Lancers, and having to make it to extend the shootout for one more round did just that and made it 3-2.

Still up by one and in the last round of penalties barring a miss and tie, Senior defender Braden Zines had the chance to clinch the victory for the Tritons at his feet.

The Lancers received yet another lifeline when Zines overhit his penalty kick and sent it over the goal which gave Sunny Hills the chance to tie the shootout.

Subsequently, Defender Christian De Guzman hit his penalty just hard enough for it to reach the back of the net despite Carter getting a hand to it.

Andrew Burror was tasked with taking the first penalty of the extra round for the Tritons.

Burror’s shot was on goal but a diving Orihuela guessed perfectly and saved the spot kick.

Raymond Avalos, who saved a goal in the first half of the game, had the chance to make another big play for the Lancers when he stepped up to score the possible game winning and comeback-completing penalty kick.

The Junior defender delivered for the Lancers and slotted his penalty kick into the goal and out of a Diving Carter’s reach.

In an unpredictable turn of events the Shootout went from a 3-1 Tritons lead to a 4-3 Lancers victory, and the Lancers went from almost eliminated to clinching a spot in the second round.

“Thought the way the shootout started it sort of went the way we had planned it, and we got down to a couple of guys having to make a shot and unfortunately they didn’t,” said Tritons Head Coach Michael Pronier. “It’s just the way life goes sometimes,” when talking about the penalty misses.

“Kinda disappointed at first you know, we were struggling, and you know then [we] got pretty ecstatic,” said Lancers Head coach Mike Schade on the turn of events in the shootout, and added that Orihuela “came up big” in the shootout.

Sunny Hills will travel to face Paramount on Wednesday in the second round.