Five Grant High starters sat out a Valley Pac-8 Conference soccer game against Poly on Wednesday, but no matter--a lineup filled with reserves rolled over the Parrots, 5-1.
Grant (3-2-1, 2-1-1) punished Poly with four second-half goals, including three by sophomore Carlos Lemus, to break open what had been a close game.
First-year Grant Coach Frank Ortiz, whose squad includes 12 sophomores, benched the five starters because of poor attendance during holiday workouts.
The Lancers, who started the season slowly, apparently got the message.
"That was the intention, to let them know--no practice, no play," Ortiz said. "I think overall the kids are used to being pampered. A lot of these kids never had any formal coaching."
Poly (1-8, 0-3), which had plenty of scoring opportunities in the first half, led, 1-0, after junior forward Sergio Veloz broke down the sideline and scored in the opening minutes. The Parrots muffed most of their opportunities thereafter, however, including two breakaway advantages that were stopped because of offsides violations. A tough Grant defense limited their chances in the second half.
Poly was able to get off only four shots in the second half, and overall was outshot by the Lancers, 23-9. Grant goalkeeper Pendar Maleki recorded eight saves.
Lemus then went wild in the second half, cutting through the Poly defense with sharp ball handling. He struck quickly in the period's opening minutes, drawing goalkeeper Guillermo Villa away from the net and putting a shot above his head. Lemus added two more scores and an assist.