Central Valley’s and Ceres High’s varsity boys soccer teams currently sit in second and third, respectively, in the Western Athletic Conference standings.
The Hawks (9-1-4, 2-0-1) and Bulldogs (7-3-0, 2-2-0) will face off at Central Valley next Monday at 4 p.m.
“There’s more than three points on the line,” Central Valley head coach Omar Leon said. “It’s about pride. Ceres High beat us for the section title in 2009. We’re on top when you look at the overall numbers.”
The Hawks will look to extend their unbeaten streak in WAC play to 20 games.
“We just started talking about this game recently,” Bulldogs head coach Miguel Saldate said. “Every game is important. It’s hard playing against a team like that because they have a lot of confidence. To be honest, I think it’s going to be very competitive.”
Cristopher Torres, Cristian Cabrales, Michael Quintanilla, Ulises Diaz and Martin Reyes will lead Ceres High.
Torres has scored six goals and dished out two assists in conference play.
“We have a very hard game coming up,” Saldate said. “The boys are going to have to play as a team and not as individuals. I think it’s going to be a one-goal differential. And I’m hoping it’s in favor of us.”
Central Valley, which will be led by Osvaldo Yepez, Hector Mendoza, Juan Martinez, Angel Lopez and Ramon Ruiz, has posted eight shutouts this year.
Osvaldo has collected two goals and two assists in three league games.
Angel and Hector have also scored twice.
“We have a good defense,” Leon said.
Central Valley and Ceres High both have rich traditions.
The Hawks are vying for their seventh straight league title and eighth consecutive playoff berth.
The Bulldogs have qualified for the postseason six years in a row.
Ceres High defeated Central Valley 2-0 for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV title in 2009.
The Hawks also advanced to the section finals in 2013, 2012 and 2010.
“A lot of our kids play competitive soccer year-round,” Saldate said while talking about the success of Ceres High’s and Central Valley’s boys programs.
“The first gift they receive as a kid is a soccer ball,” Leon said.