May 27, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Sunny Hills boys soccer team captures CIF title with overtime win over Norte Vista

Sunny Hills players and coaches celebrate after the team captured the CIF title Saturday night. (Photo courtesy Jim McCormack, For OC Sports Zone).

In his 34 years with the Sunny Hills boys soccer program, Coach Mike Shade has had a number of great teams … CIF champions, CIF finalists, CIF semifinalists, CIF quarterfinalists, Freeway League champions … you get the picture.

And now you can add another Lancer team to that history …. The 2202 Lancers, who captured the CIF Division 3 boys soccer title Saturday night with a 1-0 Golden Goal overtime victory over Norte Vista at Ramona High School in Riverside.

And where does this team rank among Sunny Hills legends?

“I’ll leave that for the alumni to argue about,” a drenched Schade said with a smile.

When the arguments begin, and they will be good-natured, this Lancer team will have a pretty good case.

A year ago, the key players on this team were on a team that finished fifth in the Freeway League as the Lancers missed the CIF playoffs for the first time in 20 seasons.

That led to a season this year with a purpose.

“Our goal was to win a CIF championship,”Schade said.

Sunny Hills accomplished that goal in remarkable fashion. The team is 18-3-4 on the season and will play again when SoCal Regional pairings are announced Sunday.

The Lancers won Saturday’s match when, eight minutes into the first overtime Justin Coen sent a long pass to Matthias Brown who won a race to the ball, drew the keeper out, and then blasted a shot into the empty net.

The win was the 14th in 15 games in which the Lancers scored more than two goals only once.

In their run through the playoffs, Sunny Hills defeated Canyon (2-0, Santiago (Garden Grove (2-0), Palmdale (1-1, win on penalty kicks, 3-1), Valley View of Moreno Valley (2-1 in overtime) and Norte Vista (1-0 in overtime.

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—Courtesy Jim McCormack, For OC Sports Zone