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PREP BOYS SOCCER: Great Oak blanks Vista Murrieta

03/04/2013, 1:55pm PST
By By MARK E. STRODER For The Californian

TEMECULA — The position of soccer goalie can be lonely. It certain weather conditions, it can also be miserable.

TEMECULA — The position of soccer goalie can be lonely. It certain weather conditions, it can also be miserable.

On a freezing January night, Great Oak goalkeeper Hunter Fitzharris was probably not dressed appropriately Tuesday.

Fitzharris wore shorts and stood around, fighting off goose bumps, while his teammates owned the ball most of the night. The Wolfpack scored two goals in each half and played dominant defense to earn a 4-0 victory over visiting Vista Murrieta.

Great Oak moved to 9-3 on the season and improved its Southwestern League mark to 3-0. The Broncos fell to 7-7-3 and 1-1-1 in league play.

"I was freezing," said Fitzharris, who did not have anything resembling a save. "I could have used a cup of hot tea."

He also could have used a pair of sweat pants, an overcoat and a stocking cap.

"I just kept hoping the ball would come my way, and kept thinking about being warm," he said.

His teammates made it a lonely and cold evening for Fitzharris by controlling the ball for large blocks of time.

"He had a lot to do," Great Oak coach Adam Skumawitz said of his goalie. "He was organizing, making sure the boys knew who to mark, where to be.

"If he's not getting shots that means he's doing a good job of organizing the boys in front of him."

Devon Woodside scored the only goal Great Oak would need 17 minutes into the contest, taking a crossing pass and placing the ball safely through the left side.

The Broncos committed a hand ball foul at the 38-minute mark. Ariel Lassiter's penalty kick through the middle hit the bottom of the crossbar, but still bounced in for a goal and 2-0 lead.

"I freezed the keeper and knew that if I hit the ball good, it was going to go in," said Lassiter, who also added an assist.

Wolfpak defender Josh Constant headed in a well-placed corner kick from Lassiter, giving Great Oak a three-goal cushion midway through the second half.

"Our belief is, our best defense is offense," said Skumawitz. "We kept the ball well, and created chances. We put them on their heels."

A few minutes later, senior midfielder Chris Gaitan blasted a shot from 25 yards out that curved past Bronco goalie Jason Bertolino and into the net for a 4-0 lead.

"Great Oak's a great team," said Bronco defender Aaron Ruth. "I don't think we were prepared in our warmup, and it showed in the game."

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