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Central Valley boys edge previously-unbeaten Pitman 2-1
Roberto Pelayo (4) and Central Valley’s varsity boys soccer team dealt Pitman its first loss of the season. The Hawks held on for a 2-1 victory over the Pride on Dec. 19 at the Turlock Regional Sports Complex. - photo by Eddie Ruiz

Central Valley’s varsity boys soccer team handed Pitman its first loss of the season last month.

The Hawks escaped with a 2-1 win over the Pride in non-conference play on Dec. 19 at the Turlock Regional Sports Complex.

“On a scale of 1-10, we played at a level of 8 or 9,” Central Valley head coach Omar Leon said. “We can still do better. We have the talent.”

The Hawks improved to 6-2-2.

The Pride dropped to 7-1-0.

“Their record speaks for itself,” Leon said. “That’s the best team we’ve played so far this year. It was a great match. A lot of good, quality soccer. They don’t play kickball. They play the same style of soccer as us. We like to possess and rotate the ball. We use every player on every part of the field.”

Central Valley forward Gerardo Flores converted two of five scoring chances against Pitman.

“He has a lot of individual skill,” Leon said. “He’s a lethal player.”

Isaac Juarez and Alex Bautista both collected one assist.

Erick Martinez tallied eight saves at goalkeeper, including two one-on-one denials in the first half.

Cesar Grajeda and Gilberto Flores led the way on defense.

“It’s our best overall performance as a team,” Leon said. “Everybody was very consistent the whole game.”

Flores swayed momentum in Central Valley’s favor by tallying two goals in a 15-minute span during the second half.

“That gave a lot of confidence to the team,” Leon said.

Pitman cut the deficit to one late in the game.

Central Valley managed to beat previously-unbeaten Pitman despite competing with a revamped lineup.

Four starters did not play, including Jesus Yepez, Joel Arellano, Pedro Vargas and Abel Calvo.

Yepez, Arellano and Vargas traveled to Mexico to visit family. Abel Calvo was sidelined with an injury.