Sunny Hills boys soccer moves on to state CIF regional semifinals after 4-3 victory

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Summer Sueki

Forward junior Mathias Brown (right) celebrates with his teammates after scoring the Lancers’ first goal in the first round of CIF state regionals against Panorama High School on Tuesday, March 1, at the Buena Park High School stadium. Brown, who was also playing on his birthday, came up with a hat trick with a total of three goals as Sunny Hills won 4-3.

Grace Min

This story was updated Thursday, March 3, with more information about the game and an additional quote from one of the soccer players.

After kicking in the winning goal to secure a CIF-Southern Section Division 3 title for Sunny Hills over the weekend, junior Mathias Brown continued his scoring streak Tuesday, March 1, in the first round of CIF state regionals at Buena Park High School stadium.

Brown scored not only the first goal of the game, but the second and third as well – a hat trick.

To top it off, he was playing on his 17th birthday.

“After the first [goal], I just knew we had momentum,” said the junior, who scored the first goal within the first 10 minutes of the game, the second one 35 minutes into the first half and his last point right before the end of the first half. “[The game] was in our favor, and I knew I could get more [goals], but we had to keep working.”

Despite Brown’s hot streak, the match remained even at 3-3 until the 31-minute mark of the second half when forward junior Samuel Takaki received an assist from defender junior Tyler Ip within five feet of the goal.

“I was looking at Tyler because I knew he was going to pass [the ball] to me. … And when he passed it to me, I stepped into it and redirected [the ball] into the goal,” Takaki said.

This time around, the Lancers (19-3-4) ended their three-match overtime streak, shutting out the Pythons (17-3-3) after they secured that fourth goal — the most points the Lancers have scored during the 2021-2022 season.

“We didn’t play that well in the first half; it just wasn’t really what we planned to do,” boys soccer head coach Mike Schade said. “But overall, the entire team in the second half picked up the tempo, and our defenders got stops on No. 27 [on Panorama’s team], which was key.”

The No. 3-seeded Lancers will only have one day to prepare before they take a bus and travel on the road to Bakersfield, where they will play No. 2-seeded Garces Memorial High School (19-1-1) Thursday, March 3, at 5 p.m.

To upset Garces and advance to the title round, Schade said his players will have to improve on their defensive mindset.

“No goals against is what we want to improve on,” he said. “We need to do that as a team, and it starts at the top and goes through each one of our lines –  all the way back to our goalkeeper.”