HEMET – The Hemet boys soccer team knows it has very little room for error in its quest to win the Inland Valley League championship.
Sergio Godina scored on each side of halftime and Ramiro Orozco provided the exclamation point late in the match as the Bulldogs knocked off Moreno Valley 3-1 on Wednesday night to tighten up the league standings.
Moreno Valley (14-4-1, 4-1-1 in league) remained in first place despite the loss, but its lead over Lakeside (3-0-3 in league) was cut to a single point. Hemet (8-8-2, 3-1-1) is now three points behind Moreno Valley but has one game in hand. Lakeside hosts Hemet on Friday night, and the Lancers will make the trip to Moreno Valley on Monday night. Lakeside played those schools to scoreless draws in the first meetings.
“I told them before the match that if they want to win the league title, it has to start with a win tonight,” Hemet coach Brian Olide said. “And now we have to maintain that same intensity over the final three matches.”
Hemet was determined to avenge a previous 1-0 loss to the Vikings, a match the Bulldogs believed was winnable but watch slip away in the final minutes. Hemet dominated the early moments of the return match and outshot Moreno Valley 7-1 during the first half.
In the eighth minute, Adrian Medrano delivered a perfect corner kick into the box, and Godina worked through traffic and got his head onto the ball to give Hemet the lead. It was an unlikely pairing for a set-piece goal, given that Medrano and Godina are two of the shorter players on the Bulldogs’ roster.
“It’s great being small because they do not expect me to get up there,” Godina said. “It was a great feeling.”
Moreno Valley had a couple of opportunities to level the score early in the second half, but Edgar Segura’s shot in the 44th minute was stopped by Hemet goalkeeper Julian Avilez and Jonathan Becerra’s header from a long free kick by Alejandro Espinoza in the 46th minute traveled just wide of the net.
In the 48th minute, Hemet striker Yahir Gonzalez was brought down in the area for a penalty. Godina stepped to the spot and confidently drove the ball into the left corner to double the lead. Godina almost made the brace a hat trick in the 72nd minute. He lined up a free kick from 30 yards out, but Moreno Valley’s Jose Reynoso made the diving stop to prevent the ball from going into the upper corner.
Orozco sealed the victory for the Bulldogs with a spectacular goal from just outside the 18-yard box.
“We are trying out our third our fourth formation this year, so it’s been great to see the kids molding into that new look and making it work,” Olide said. “We are always trying to keep the opponents guessing.”
Moreno Valley avoided the shutout when striker Rodman Martinez scored a goal in the 77th minute.