The Orchard Valley Top Dawgs advanced to the final 16 of the
2003 State Cup after a strong showing in Hanford near Fresno over
the weekend.
The Orchard Valley Top Dawgs advanced to the final 16 of the 2003 State Cup after a strong showing in Hanford near Fresno over the weekend.

The opening game against Clovis California Odyssey was a match that had everything. The Top Dawgs, a local U14 Class I boys soccer team, had good ball possession in the opening half, but Clovis made the most of its chances by scoring twice before the break. That was enough for a 2-0 win.

In the second half, it was very different game. The Orchard Valley team pounded the Clovis goal again and again. At times it was like watching a pinball game as the ball bounced around the Odyssey goal.

The Dawgs dominated for 90 percent of the second half. Only twice did Clovis get the ball in their opponents half.

Game two pitched the Top Dawgs against the the Santa Cruz Phantoms. The Phantoms had lost their opener 2-0 as well and came out determined to stay in the tournament. For the first ten minutes, the play was even with neither side able to break the deadlock. The Top Dawgs then begun to take control with quick incisive attacking play. Two goals in quick succession calmed any pre-match nerves. The Top Dawgs went into halftime three goals up.

The second half was equally dominating as Top Dawgs scored two more goals to emerge 5-0 winners.

After watching the Stockton Clash win 4-1 on the adjoining field, the Dawgs knew they had a tough task in order to win the game to move on.

Stockton opened with a goal in the first seven minutes. Facing the prospect of having to score at least three goals against a team that had conceded only once in two games was daunting.

Many teams would have given up but not the redoubtable Top Dawgs. Within four minutes they had leveled the score and were playing with such passion and commitment that their fans believed it was still possible.

They pressed and pressed and were rewarded with a second stunning goal midway through the first half. The Stockton team was stunned and tried to step up their pace, but the Dawgs continued to control the game. Several chances were created but some resolute defending by the Stockton team that kept the score at 2-1 at the end of the half.

At the break, the team needed little encouragement or advice from the coaches to do keep up the pressure. They were clearly pumped up and ready to finish the job.

In a thrilling second half, the Stockton team, now realizing they were just one goal from exiting the competition themselves, tried valiantly to take control.

A tense ten minutes of even play ensued before the Orchard Valley team once again out muscled the Clash and were winning every fifty-fifty challenge.

Fans from both sides did their best to raise their respective teams spirits, but it was the Top Dawgs who finally stamped their authority on the game. The third goal saw them reach their target.

The decision was made to go for a decisive victory and put the game beyond doubt and so the attacking play from the Dawgs continued and paid off with a fourth goal with just six minutes left to play.

The team is made up of players from San Martin, Gilroy and Morgan Hill: Isiah Castro, Kyle Harrigan, Nathan Goldsmith, Adam Hoffman, Neil Martin, Vidal Lucero, Emmy Nava, Christian Flores, Timmy Kotyuk, Tony Bredehoeft, Alex Jacobs, Jamie Binowski, Ben Alcantar, Jose Hecht, Silvano Botta, Colin Kay, Tony Huizar and Garrett Frechette.

In the next round, the Top Dawgs face Redwood Juventus Strikers at Morgan Hill on Saturday 5 April at 8:30 a.m.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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