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High school soccer: Gainesville boys remain undefeated
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Gainesville High’s Russ Pickett, right, and Creekview’s Jordan McClellan get tangled up as Pickett nears the Creekview goal during the first half of Tuesday afternoon’s match at Bobby Gruhn Field at City Park.

Beauty of the warriors

Throughout the season, the Gainesville High boys team has employed a simple soccer philosophy: score plenty, and give up none.

While they did surrender a careless goal in the second half, that philosophy was on display Tuesday in the Red Elephants’ 4-1 win over Creekview at City Park.

“We know we’re going to score,” said junior Monish Lahiry. “But our main objective is to play well all over the pitch.”

Seventh-ranked Gainesville (6-0, 4-0 Area 7-AAA) did just that on its first goal, a hard left-footed shot by senior captain Irving Salgado that altered Creekview’s game plan.

“That goal was important because it brought them out of playing defensively,” said Gainesville coach Rick Howard, whose team is outscoring its opponents 36-2 this season.

Creekview (3-3, 2-1) playing in more of an attack mode benefitted the Red Elephants late in the first half, when Yunis Yanes and

Carlos Sanchez crossed paths on a through-ball, which confused the defender and resulted in Yanes with the ball and Sanchez in scoring position. Yanes found his teammate, who made a couple of moves, put the ball on his left foot and fired it into the net for a 2-0 halftime lead.

“We’re talented all over the pitch,” Lahiry said. “We all look at each other and see no weaknesses.”

That was evident in the second half, when Gainesville kept the pressure on the Grizzlies and scored two more goals.

The first score came off the right foot of senior Russ Puckett, who took a pass from Doulglass Mejia, made one quick move around the defender and fired a shot into the back of the net with 36 minutes left in the game.
Creekview’s lone goal came 14 minutes later when Penaloza Marin stole the ball off the foot of Gainesville’s goalie and kicked it in.

“That was nobody’s fault,” Howard said. “Obviously we need to train that better, but for every one of those that Edgar (Espinoza) gives up, he saves five more.”

While the goal ruined the shutout and was only the second that Gainesville has given up all year, Lahiry said that it fired up the team.

“It wasn’t a disappointment, it was more of a motivator,” he said.

That proved to be true with 16:19 left in the game when Lahiry scored the game’s final goal.

“It was one of those that right when it leaves your foot, you know it’s going in,” he said.

Despite the 4-1 result, and the compliments he received from Creekview’s coach following the game, Howard knows the Red Elephants aren’t where they need to be.

“We have a good blend of young players and experienced players, but we have a lot of work to do,” Howard said. “We are always trying to get our game better.”

One thing Howard can be satisfied with is his team’s composure, as the Red Elephants refused to succomb to the overly physical style of play of Creekview that resulted in three yellow cards.

“Teams are going to be physical with us,” Lahiry said. “We just need to be conscious of where we are and what the situation is.”

Gainesville visits West Forsyth at 8 p.m. Friday.

CREEKVIEW GIRLS 6, GAINESVILLE 0: The third-ranked Lady Grizzlies (6-1, 4-0 Area 7-AAA) scored six goals in the first half and never looked back Tuesday at City Park.

Gainesville (4-2, 2-2) visits West Forsyth at 6 p.m. Friday.

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