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CV soccer accomplishes all but one of its goals
It's not the type of finish third-year starter Jose Ramirez and his Central Valley High School varsity boys soccer teammates envisioned.

The Hawks fell 2-0 to crosstown rival Ceres High in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV title game on Saturday, Nov. 14 at Stockton's Lincoln High School.

The painful setback marked the first time Central Valley lost to the Bulldogs, snapping an eight-game unbeaten streak (6-0-2) that spanned four years.

"It's a devastating loss," Ramirez said. "There was a lot of pressure on us to win."

Central Valley posted a 17-4-5 overall record and edged out Ceres High for its second straight Valley Oak League title during the 2009 campaign.

"It would have been a perfect season if we won sections," Hawks head coach Omar Leon said. "But there is no need for us to cry about it. It's a learning experience. We still had a very productive year."

Central Valley will find itself in the same position as Ceres High next season.

The Bulldogs won the section title after suffering a heart-breaking 5-4 loss on penalty kicks to River City in the 2008 finals.

"Sometimes you have to lose before you win," Leon said. "It will make us stronger for next year."

Added Ramirez: "It's going to motivate us to do better."

Central Valley returns plenty of talent, including Ramirez (16 goals, 21 assists), Daniel Ochoa (14 goals, three assists), Larry Hernandez (four goals, 17 assists) and Gerardo Cazares (two goals, five assists).

The Hawks lose star forward Antonio Cabrera (29 goals, 17 assists), and standout defenders Billy and Bobby Chanthavong to graduation.

Central Valley fielded its first-ever varsity boys soccer team in 2006. The Hawks have accomplished a lot under Leon's guidance the past three seasons, having won a pair of VOL titles and never missed out on the playoffs.

"It didn't happen overnight," Omar said. "It's always been about the team concept."