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New season, better start

Posted: January 13, 2009 10:36 p.m.
Updated: January 14, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
At this time last year, the Golden Valley boys soccer team began to dig itself a hole.

Chances are the Grizzlies are much happier with this season's start.

Andy Ruiz scored two goals and helped orchestrate another as Golden Valley blasted Hart 6-1 in the Foothill League opener Tuesday afternoon.

Golden Valley (7-5-2, 1-0) had more energy right from the opening whistle and consistently found seams in the Hart defense that led to scoring opportunities.

Center midfielders Eduardo Barragan and Juan Trejo controlled the field, and as Grizzlies head coach Phil Lopez said, it's what his team has worked for.

"We played Grizzly ball, which is teamwork," he said. "We're all about the team. The way we spread the ball is what we've been working for since August and it showed today."

With the wind whipping across the field, Golden Valley tried to play the ball over the top of the Indians' defense in the first half, and Ruiz took such a ball 11 minutes into the contest and beat Hart keeper Garrett Harney to give the Grizzlies a 1-0 lead.

Toward the end of the first half, Ruiz led another run into the box and tore a right-footed shot that was saved by Harney, but the rebound was put away by teammate Sean Dasaad.

With a minute to play, Hart's Ian Loveland took possession on the left wing and fired a low shot into the back of the net to give the Indians (2-7-3, 0-1) momentum heading into halftime.

Still, Hart head coach Fausto Arana had no explanation for his team's flat play.

"I'm disappointed," he said. "I thought we were ready. They wanted it more than we did. Today, they were the better team."

Any hopes of a comeback took a severe dent when Golden Valley's Francis Diaz ripped a shot into the lower-right corner past Harney to restore the Grizzlies' two-goal lead.

Ruiz ducked past several defenders with 28 minutes to play to make the score 4-1, and Dasaad and James Schlegel each scored with less than 10 minutes to go to set the final.

"We didn't care what happened last season," Lopez said. "We didn't care what our record was this season. The whole point was to play as varied competition as possible to get us ready for today. It was a big first step."

Golden Valley lost its first four Foothill games last season.

The Golden Valley defense was up to the challenge Tuesday. Gerardo Perez spent the second half in goal and kept a clean sheet, thanks in part to a non-goalie save by Gustavo Crispin late in the game.

As senior co-captain and central defender Tim Stanley noted, it's easier on the back line when the offense is clicking.

"It helps a lot, because when we're up, there's not so much pressure to keep them off the board," Stanley said.


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