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Bulldogs best Panthers in soccer, lose to Wolves
Varsity boys remain in second place
Bulldog Cristian Cabrales collected two assists in WAC play last week. Second-place Ceres High posted a 2-1 win over Pacheco and lost 3-2 to Livingston. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High School's varsity boys soccer team expected to win both of its games last week.

The Bulldogs beat Livingston and Pacheco by a combined score of 11-2 earlier this season.

Surprisingly, Ceres High had to settle for a split.

Livingston upset visiting Ceres High 3-2 on Oct. 15.

The Bulldogs won the first meeting, 5-0.
"It's the worse game we've played," Ceres High head coach Javier Mercado said. "It's very disappointing."

Tomas Rocha led the Bulldogs in scoring with two goals during the second meeting.

Cristopher Torres and Cristian Cabrales each dished out one assist.

Nicolas Martinez made six saves.

The Wolves squandered a 2-0 lead before tallying the game-winning goal in the 62nd minute.

"It should not have come to that," Mercado said. "We just played flat."

Pacheco closed the competitive gap as it suffered a 2-1 loss while battling the Bulldogs on Thursday in Los Banos.

"They have a good team," Mercado said. "It's always tough to win over there because of their field. It's smaller and hard. You can't control the ball."

Torres accounted for both of Ceres High's goals.

"When he gets chances, he scores," Mercado said. "Next year, he's going to be even better."

Cabrales and Cesar Espinoza chipped in with one assist apiece.

Martinez had nine saves. Nicolas preserved the victory with a diving save in the 70th minute.

"He's been doing great for us," Mercado said.

Second-place Ceres High (8-2-0, 24 points) lost ground to unbeaten Central Valley (9-0-0, 27 points) in the WAC standings.

The Bulldogs and third-place Patterson (6-3-0, 18 points) are trying to end Central Valley's reign.

The Hawks are closing in on their sixth straight conference title-fourth in the WAC-and seventh consecutive playoff berth.

The top three teams in league advance to the postseason.

"We have to win every single game and get help," Mercado said. "The way Central Valley is playing right now no one is going to catch them. We have to shoot for second place so we can host a playoff game. That's our goal now."

Ceres High's final three WAC opponents are Patterson (Oct. 22), Los Banos (Oct. 24), Central Valley (Oct. 28).