LAND O’LAKES — The last time Pasco coach Barry Grayling missed a game because of illness his team lost to Sunlake. Not only did it happen again Wednesday, but it was by the same 5-0 margin as last season’s Class 3A, District 7 semifinal.
“We’re trying to get there at the end and be there with Land O’Lakes,” Pasco assistant Warren Lowery said, referring to the district rivals fighting for the No. 2 seed behind front-running Sunlake. “We need to learn from this experience.”
The Seahawks continued their early-season dominance with their sixth shutout. Sunlake has outscored the opposition 43-3.
Sunlake (8-0) took a 3-0 halftime lead, getting on the scoreboard in the 26th minute when team scoring leader Connor Gilboy took a through ball from Chris Wilkinson and beat goalkeeper Noe Esqueda low to the far right corner for the first of his two goals.
Sunlake scored two more in rapid fashion. Wilkinson sent in a high pass that Aaron Aucoin headed into the net from the small box in the 31st minute for his first career goal. A minute later, Connor Spencer converted a centering pass from Gilboy by lifting a shot over the reach of Esqueda.
“That’s the best we’ve played in a while,” Sunlake coach Sam Koleduk said. “We’ve got good firepower, so we can score at any time.”
Pasco (4-2) came out fired up after the break and pressured Sunlake keeper Daniel Hrenko with four shots in the first 20 minutes of the second half. The two best scoring chances, however, went awry with Michael Mazza kicking a close-range bid over the crossbar and Luis Salas drilling one just outside the left post.
Gilboy broke the second-half scoring drought with his 17th off a feed from Aucoin in the 60th minute. Spencer then drilled home a 25-footer off a free kick for his 10th of the season.