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CHS soccer finishes in fourth place
The Ceres High varsity boys soccer team ended its 2007 campaign on a sour note Thursday, losing 3-0 to host and crosstown rival Central Valley before a crowd of 300.

Extra security was on hand for the Valley Oak League finale. As expected, the game was very physical. Approximately three yellow cards were assessed, including two to Ceres High. A host of fouls were committed.

The Bulldogs had their playoff hopes dashed leading up to the game. Central Valley (9-3-1) locked up the VOL's third and final berth with a 7-0 win over Weston Ranch on Oct. 23.

Ceres High finished in fourth place at 5-7-2.

"He (coach Omar Leon) told us to be cool and not lose our heads," Hawks senior offensive midfielder Samuel Saldate said.

"This is the game we've been waiting for all year," Bulldogs co-captain Aron Mejia said. "I want to play against them again. I'm not satisfied. I know we could have done better."

The Hawks beat the Bulldogs behind two goals from Saldate, one from Pedro Gomez and stellar defensive play.

"They impressed me with how they worked the ball around," Ceres coach Ryan Cerny said. "That definitely hurt us today."

Central Valley took a 1-0 lead in the first half.

Saldate scored off a rebound in the 34th minute.

Gomez converted a penalty kick four minutes into the second half.

Saldate put the game out of reach with a goal in the 56th minute.

Hawks goalkeeper Eddy Salinas tallied six saves.

Saldate got his grades up just in time for Central Valley's final two games. He scored once in his debut against the Cougars.

"It felt good coming back to play especially after sitting on the sidelines," Saldate said. "I couldn't even travel with the team."

"Central Valley has a very talented team," Cerny said. "I wish them the best in the playoffs. At least one team from Ceres made it. I'm pretty happy."

The Bulldogs competed week-in and week-out despite playing shorthanded due to injuries, yellow-card accumulation suspensions and excused absences.

"I'm very proud of the whole team," Cerny said. "They showed a lot of class this season. We were dealt some tough cards. Next year should be our year. We'll have a ton of returners. Our team chemistry is going to be stronger than it ever has been."

Mejia, David Estrada, Luis Martinez, Fernando Garduno and Jose Meza will lead the 2008 Bulldogs.