MURRIETA — The record looks great on paper. The question is, are they paper tigers?
"I wouldn't call our nonleague schedule semi-soft — I'd call it soft," admitted Vista Murrieta girls' soccer coach Ryan Heise.
The Broncos made the most of what was put in front of them. And on Thursday, they impressed against one of the Valley's better programs, as senior forward Talya Deleon scored a pair of second half goals, helping Vista Murrieta to a 4-0 nonleague victory over visiting Lakeside.
The Broncos (10-1) breezed through a mostly pedestrian nonleague schedule. Now the real test begins with the start of the Southwestern League play next week.
"No matter who we play in league, it's going to be a brutal schedule," said Heise, now in his sixth year. "Every coach and player in the league knows that you've got 10 games that are going to be tough.
"I believe just about everybody's got a shot."
The Broncos open league play next Tuesday at Chaparral, which handed Vista Murrieta its only loss (1-0) in mid-December.
"I feel we're in a good spot right now," Heise said. "I think we're in a spot where we're ready for Tuesday."
Lakeside (5-6-4) was in a tough spot on Thursday, playing a quality opponent shorthanded.
"We didn't have a couple of our key midfielders today, so we struggled," Lakeside defender Kingsley Martinez said. "I actually think we're the better team."
Deleon helped put an already lopsided game out of reach with two impressive goals.
After having a shot blocked by the goalkeeper, Deleon kept charging forward. When the ball became free, she pounced on it and found an empty net for a 3-0 lead at the 38-minute mark.
"It rebounded off the goalie, and I turned around and it was right there, so I kicked it in the goal," Deleon said.
She had another rush a few minutes later. This time, Deleon patiently sidestepped the goalie and easily placed the ball through the center of the net.
"I cut in with my left foot and shot it with my right foot," Deleon said.
Vista Murrieta took an early lead on a Jaki Velasquez goal. Sophomore midfielder Perry Guinn made it 2-0 after she redirected a ball with her head.
"I headed it, and then a defender headed it out, and then I headed back again, and it went over the keeper's head," Guinn said. "It's never happened to me before. I thought it was pretty cool."
Broncos goalie Cheyanne Mumphrey may have been the loneliest player on the field Thursday. She didn't have anything resembling a save, and spent most of the night watching the action on the other side of the field.
"I was almost singing to myself," Mumphrey said. "I was still trying to stay involved in the game by talking to everyone and keeping the enthusiasm going."
She should be far busier beginning next week.
"Anyone can win it in our league," she said. "We just have to bring it, and we will."