By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
CHS challenges top-ranked Sonora
Ceres High's varsity girls soccer team headed into its Valley Oak League clash with defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV and Valley Oak League champion Sonora with a depleted roster.

With key players Caitlin Cerny and Cynthia Gonzalez sidelined, the Bulldogs turned in a respectable performance in losing 3-1 to the Wildcats Thursday evening in Ceres.

"I'm really proud of them," Gonzalez said. "They did really good."

Added Ceres coach Randy Cerny: "This can be something to build on for the second half of the season."

Sonora improved to 19-2-2 on the year, including 8-1-1 in the VOL.

The Bulldogs dropped to 9-11 overall, 3-7 in conference play.

Led by Nichole Fitch, Morgan Welsh, Lizzy Flores and Marisela Torres, the Bulldogs limited reigning VOL MVP Lexi Kopf to just one goal.

Fitch tallied eight saves.

"Every single game, she's improved dramatically," Cerny said. "She was very unsure of herself at the beginning of the year."

Welsh marked Kopf.

Torres and Flores starred at stopper and sweeper, respectively. Lizzy started in place of Gonzalez, who had to serve a one-game suspension after picking up two yellow cards in a 6-0 loss to Sierra on Tuesday, April 15.

Torres, a second-year starter, played fearless and aggressive.

"Without having Cynthia out there, Marisela really had the chance to shine," Cerny said. "She's an unheralded player on this team. She really never gets the recognition. She's played almost every single minute of every game. She never comes off the field."

Ceres High players smiled and laughed as they chatted at halftime. The mood was very upbeat because the Bulldogs faced just a 1-0 deficit against the powerhouse Wildcats.

Sonora occupied the No. 6 spot in the April 3 National High School Rankings.

The Bulldogs fell behind 1-0 in the fourth minute. Kopf converted a penalty kick-her VOL-leading 22nd goal of the season-after getting tripped in the box.

Lexi also had a shot bounce off the right post and header hit off the crossbar in the opening half.

"We knew we could play with them because they're not the same team on the grass," Cerny said. "They play their home games on field turf."

Tori Selesia made it a 2-0 game when she scored four minutes into the second half. Her 12-yard blast hit the left post and went into the goal.

Selesia extended Sonora's lead to 3-0 with less than 12 minutes left in regulation. She lofted a 15-yard left-footed shot over the outstretched arms of Fitch.

Ceres High became just the second team to score against Sonora in league play when Flores followed her own missed penalty kick in the final minute.

The Bulldogs could have used Caitlin Cerny's help on offense. Ceres' leading scorer missed the game with a left knee injury. Her season totals are 14 goals and four assists.