Sports

Raiders fall behind early in loss to Sunny Hills

A shot by Sonora's Juan Villalobos gets past Sunny Hills goalkeeper Niko Pedroza in the 73rd minute of Sonora's 2-1 loss, Wednesday afternoon.
A shot by Sonora’s Juan Villalobos gets past Sunny Hills goalkeeper Niko Pedroza in the 74th minute of Sonora’s 2-1 loss, Wednesday afternoon.

Story and photos by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

After a rather lopsided win last Friday, the Sonora boys’ soccer team dug itself into a hole, falling 2-1 against Sunny Hills on the road.

The Raiders were shut down through the first 70 minutes, but by then the Lancers were in cruise control.

Sonora’s offense sputtered throughout most of the game, but in the 74th minute midfielder Juan Villalobos scored to cut a 2-0 deficit in half.

With time quickly racing off the clock, the Raiders were desperate to even the score.

“We started cheating a bit, not marking our guys on the wing,” said Cory Witt, Sonora head coach. “You can’t play 15 minutes of that style and expect to win.”

In the 65th minute with a 1-0 lead, Lancers’ forward Nick Vazquez tapped in a perfect cross to give his team their eventual winning goal.

“Our plan is to become a little more offensive minded, possession with a purpose,” Witt said. “You can play east to west, but if you’re not moving the ball north to south from goal to goal, you’re not being effective.”

The Raiders (5-4-3, 2-2-1) wanted to build off an impressive performance from Eli Rico-Torres who put in five goals in two games last week. Unfortunately for the Raiders, the Sunny Hills defenders contained Rico-Torres and controlled the pace of the game.

Sonora senior Erik Oliva corrals a loose ball during the first half of Sonora's 2-1 loss at Sunny Hills, Wednesday afternoon.
Sonora senior Erik Oliva corrals a loose ball during the first half of Sonora’s 2-1 loss at Sunny Hills, Wednesday afternoon.

“We came in with a gameplan and we only played that gameplan for 45-50 minutes of the game,” Witt said.

The Lancers (9-4-5, 2-1-2) played a competitive first half coming into the half up 1-0 with a goal on a set piece by defender Miguel Tapia.

With the lead, the Lancers turned up their defense and silenced the Raiders offense until it was too late.

“We lacked enthusiasm, we lacked energy, we put some good subs in there, they brought some life into our midfield,” Witt said.

With the loss, the Raiders fall to 2-2-1 in league play. The Lancers jumped over the Raiders with the victory and have moved into a tie for second place in the Freeway League.

The Raiders return to action at 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon at Troy High School.

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.