By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
CHS soccer team wins in dramatic fashion
Central Valley High School's varsity girls soccer team found itself in a scoreless tie with crosstown rival Ceres High at intermission despite dominating possession.

Playing with the wind at their back, the Hawks fired shot after shot in the opening 40 minutes. Simi Talawan's close-range rebound sailed over the crossbar with eight minutes to play in the first half.

"We were lucky," Bulldog senior Leah Rose said. "We weren't winning 50-50 balls. We weren't aggressive. I'm glad we kept fighting."

The Valley Oak League finale appeared headed for a draw before Rose decided to play the role of hero. The fourth-year starter scored from 23 yards out with her left foot in the final minute-and-a-half to lift visiting Ceres High to a 1-0 victory.

Bulldog teammate Monika Martinez helped set up the play when she pressured a Central Valley defender into a turnover. The ball deflected off Martinez's foot and rolled to Rose, who was stationed on the left side of the field. Leah unleashed a perfectly-place shot behind Hawk goalkeeper Elizabeth Amaya.

"I just knew I had to shoot because there wasn't that much time left," Rose said. "That's the best way to end my senior year-with a dramatic win. It's an unforgettable moment."

Added Ceres High head coach Dominic Figueroa: "That's the best goal she's ever had. It's something she'll remember for a long time."

The Bulldogs and Hawks played to a 1-1 tie at Bulldog Stadium earlier this season. Ceres High scored first when Rose finished from close-range. Talawan's header helped Central Valley salvage a tie.

Last Thursday's game was just as competitive.

"Both teams were fighting hard," Rose said. "Both teams were taking shots frantically in the second half. It was close."

"We were solid except for one instance in the first half," Figueroa said. "We were flying around the ball. That's what we hang our hats on. Defense."

Bulldog goalie Nichole Fitch had nine saves.

Ceres High compiled a 7-14-4 overall record and finished in fifth place in the VOL standings (4-10-2). The Bulldogs had one of the youngest lineups in league this year.

Slowed by injuries and other issues, the Hawks went 4-15-3 on the year and tied for sixth (3-11-2) with Weston Ranch.

"We're five game better than we were last year," Figueroa said. "That's a good start."

Rose, Fitch and Daisy Manzo, Ceres High's three seniors, had a happy ending to their prep soccer careers. Nichole was a three-year starter.

"I'll remember this for the rest of my life," Leah said. "It's an amazing feeling."