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CV upset, league title up for grabs
Central Valley High School's first-place varsity boys soccer team suffering a stunning 2-1 loss to East Union on Thursday in Ceres.

The Lancers prevented the Hawks from claiming their second straight Valley Oak League crown. For the second consecutive year, the championship will be decided on the final day of the conference season. Central Valley and Ceres High will face off again. The game was played Tuesday night after the Courier went to press.

"We had to lose sooner or later," Hawks head coach Omar Leon said following last week's setback. "Better now instead of the playoffs. We'll take it as a learning experience."

"It's a surprise," Ceres High head coach Koeurn Phe said via telephone upon hearing the news of Central Valley's upset. "I can't believe it. But you never know with sports because anything can happen."

The Hawks (12-1-2) entered Thursday's contest with a four-point lead over the second-place Bulldogs in the VOL standings. Central Valley failed to capitalize on several one-on-one chances against East Union.

"We gave the game away," Leon said. "It's frustrating."

Jose Ramirez, Central Valley's top player, had to sit out Tuesday's VOL title-deciding game because of yellow-card accumulation.

"It sucks not having Jose," Leon said. "I hope it doesn't have a psychological effect on the rest of the team."

The Bulldogs kept their VOL title hopes alive by defeating Weston Ranch 10-0 at Ceres River Bluff Regional Park last week.

Ceres High took care of business.

"We didn't take them for granted," Phe said.

Marcos Rochas and David Estrada led the Bulldogs with three goals apiece. Luis Martinez, Pedro Gomez, Alejandro Castro and Kyle Cerny all contributed one goal.

Ceres High outscored Weston Ranch 7-0 in the second half.

"I've never done it (registered a hat trick) in a league game," Rochas said. "It's a pretty good feeling."