Grizzlies score early, beat Oakmont in SFL soccer

Granite Bay moves to 5-0 in league play
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press-Tribune sports editor
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Two quick goals by the Granite Bay High School soccer team were more than enough to propel the Grizzlies to a win at Oakmont on Tuesday afternoon. With its front line finding lanes through the Vikings defense, Granite Bay kept its unbeaten Sierra Foothill League mark intact with a 4-0 win. The Grizzlies controlled the ball for most of the afternoon, leaving Oakmont in more of a counterattacking style of play. The Vikings struggled to fill a hole in their midfield, as center midfielder Kody Duff had to sit this one out after receiving a red card last Thursday. “Missing Kody Duff in the center of the field cost us on the offense and defense because he covers so much ground, and also creates on the offense too,” said Oakmont coach Mark Broers. Granite Bay struck first just six minutes into the match when Ryan Hollingshead got a touch on a Chris Gaschen free kick at the near post, and pushed it past the Viking goalkeeper. Gaschen created another scoring chance just two minutes later when Gaschen found freshman midfielder Tyler Thompson with a through ball. Thompson played the ball off to sophomore forward Connor Hallisey, shoe left-footed rocket found the back of the net. “The 2-0 lead changed everything because we had to commit more men forward to try and stop their build up as well as hope to create scoring chances,” Broers added. Despite the hustle and effort of Oakmont in trying to stay with Gaschen, he and Hollingshead proved too much for the Vikings to handle. Both players were tough to defend as they were constantly coming back to the ball before making speed runs directly at the Oakmont defenders. The runs gave Granite Bay options as the duo worked very well with each other and with other teammates in setting up successful passing combinations, which led to dangerous opportunities at the goal. The Grizzlies’ ability to get offensive results from a number of different players has been critical to much of their success this season. “One of the biggest changes for us this year is that we are much more balanced offensively,” Granite Bay coach Steve Fischer said. “We have the ability to put the ball in the net with many people. I believe we've had 14 different scorers this season.” Down 2-0 at the break, Oakmont brought heavy pressure in the first ten minutes after intermission, but was not able to dent the scoreboard. Granite Bay responded with its third goal in the 12th minute of the half. Gaschen started the attack near midfield with a pass to Hollingshead, whose pass to Hallisey was redirected by the sophomore back to Gaschen for the goal. Oakmont keeper Brandon Vargas made a number of solid saves in the second-half, keeping the score from getting out of hand, but despite a strong effort from Roy Pedro and his Viking mates, Granite Bay held the shutout throughout the game. A late Gaschen goal on a strong left-footed shot in traffic set the final margin at four goals, and left Oakmont with its second SFL loss of the season. The Grizzlies host Woodcreek on Thursday afternoon before taking a one-week break heading into the second half of their SFL schedule, while the Vikings travel to Nevada Union for a Thursday afternoon contest.