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Tue, Oct. 22

Cougars rout Desert Christian 8-2
Prep Soccer

Chino Valley’s Gabe Castillo (10), Orlando Santoyo (3) and Angel Sanchez (14) celebrate after Santoyo scored a goal the team’s 8-2 win over Desert Christian on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, at Chino Valley High School. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

Chino Valley’s Gabe Castillo (10), Orlando Santoyo (3) and Angel Sanchez (14) celebrate after Santoyo scored a goal the team’s 8-2 win over Desert Christian on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, at Chino Valley High School. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

CHINO VALLEY — In most cases, an 8-2 victory in soccer usually signals a dominant performance by the winning side. But in this case, Chino Valley’s 8-2 home win over Desert Christian on Saturday didn’t exactly sit right with head coach Todd Carey.

“I still think we’re awfully young. We’re making some mistakes,” Carey said. “Today, I got a little frustrated at times with our touch on the ball. I thought we were a little off. We were having a hard time maintaining possession but overall, we’re coming around pretty good. We’re making good strides.”

Including Saturday’s victory, the Cougars have opened their season with a 6-0 record while winning by an average goal margin of 3.66. Carey said his concern lies within the fact that he’s looking at the bigger picture since the Cougars have yet to play any high-caliber teams, ones they will very likely see in the postseason.

On the bright side, the Cougars are at least winning when they are supposed to as an Orlando Santoyo hat-trick highlighted this latest rout of Desert Christian.

The sophomore forward basically broke the game open after netting his first two goals within a couple minutes of each other to put Chino Valley up 3-1.

“Lately, I’ve been getting just two goals in a game and I really wanted to get a hat-trick for once,” Santoyo said. “A really big inspiration for that was Arturo Gomez, who used to play here at the high school and he was a really good forward. He inspired me to get my hat-trick today.”

Santoyo scored his first two goals after he received some nifty through balls from the buildup of a dynamic offense that includes players like Angel Sanchez, Irving Vedolla and Gabe Castillo. However, it seemed the Cougars took longer than usual to catch their rhythm as Desert Christian was able to level the score 1-1 for a good portion of the first half.

With a 3-1 lead coming out of the break, Vedolla helped open the flood gates. The senior forward collected a low cross near the penalty mark and buried it in the back of the net to make it a 4-1 game.

Despite not scoring this game, Sanchez has proven to be the Cougars’ No. 1 playmaker. The junior’s wide array of skill in combination with his speed helped his team notch four more goals in the second half en route to the 8-2 win.

ADVERISTY ON THE HORIZON

The Cougars’ biggest test of the season arrives next weekend when they compete in the Old Pueblo Soccer Classic in Tucson. The outing presents challenging match-ups against Snowflake (4-1-1), Brisbee (5-0) and Blue Ridge (11-0), who Chino Valley narrowly defeated in penalties during last year’s state semifinals.

Carey stressed that there are still areas of the Cougars’ game that still need to be clean up. However, he understands that next week’s tournament will be a great learning experience no matter how the team performs.

“We definitely use (tough games) as a learning experience and to learn a little bit about your opponents,” Carey said. “If we go in there and we lose a game, it’s not the end of the world. I’m trying to tell these boys that you just got to stay positive and you got to learn from you mistakes and hopefully we are doing that. And if we get a loss, hopefully we can learn from that and we can move forward.”

UP NEXT

Before heading to the Old Pueblo Soccer Classic that starts Friday, Chino Valley will face off against Leading Edge Academy on the road Wednesday.

This game will kick off an eight-game road swing before the Cougars return home to take on Northland Prep on Wednesday, Oct. 23

Aaron Valdez is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier of Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter at @Valaaron_94. Email avaldez@prescottaz.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2031.

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