Ceres High School’s varsity boys soccer team evened its Western Athletic Conference record at 1-1 this past week.
The Bulldogs led from start to finish in beating overmatched Los Banos 6-1 on Wednesday at Ceres High.
“You never want to underestimate any opponent,” Ceres High head coach Miguel Saldate said.
The Bulldogs improved to 8-2-2 overall and 1-1-0 in the WAC.
The Tigers dropped to 0-5-0 and 0-2-0.
Ceres High’s Brandon Garcia scored twice against Los Banos.
Ulises Diaz collected one goal and one assist.
Adrian Covarrubias, Max Lopez and Osvaldo Padilla chipped in with one goal each.
Emergency goalkeeper Aaron Victoria totaled four saves while starting in place of backup Anthony Cruz, who was sidelined with a sprained finger.
The Bulldogs led 2-1 at intermission.
Ceres High outscored Los Banos 4-1 in the second half.
“We touched the ball a little more,” Saldate said. “We were taking more shots. That helped.”
Visiting Ceres High lost 1-0 to 2014 WAC-champion Patterson on Sept. 14.
“I’m pretty sure we surprised them,” Saldate said. “We should have won. We had more chances to score. We just couldn’t finish.”
Cruz tallied seven saves.
Starter Martin Reyes was sidelined with a knee injury.
Cruz played sparingly during the preseason. He logged just 40 total minutes at goalkeeper.
“He didn’t an excellent job throughout the whole game,” Saldate said. “I give him a lot of credit. I was surprised with the way he played. He tried out for the team last year and didn’t make it.”
Ceres High and Patterson combined for 19 fouls and three yellow cards.
The rematch will be staged at Bulldog Stadium on Oct. 14.
“It’s going to be very competitive,” Saldate said. “Patterson has a very comparable team.”
Ceres High posted an 11-5-2 overall record and placed fourth in the WAC standings (6-3-3) last fall.
The Bulldogs just missed securing their seventh straight postseason berth.
“Every year is different,” Saldate said. “Last year, we had a lot of talent. This year, the team unity is a little better. We’re going to be working hard to try to do that (win a conference title and make the playoffs).”