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Central Valley boys finish in top eight in playoff tour.
Central Valleys varsity boys soccer team advanced to the quarterfinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II playoffs, compiled a 11-7-6 overall record and placed third in the WAC this winter. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Gerardo Flores and the Central Valley varsity boys soccer team had high expectations despite entering the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II playoffs as the 12th seed.

The Hawks compiled a 1-1 record on their way to a top-eight finish.

"We didn't win it all so we're not happy with the result," said Flores, a junior forward. "We're all disappointed. We know we could have gone further."

"We should still be playing," head coach Omar Leon added. "We just didn't take care of business."

Central Valley amassed an 11-7-6 overall record and placed third overall in the Western Athletic Conference standings (5-3-2) this winter.

"We didn't meet our expectations," Leon said. "We took a step down from last year. We didn't win a single tournament. We didn't improve our seeding in league. We didn't play to our potential."

Added Flores: "We had an okay season."

Central Valley lost 1-0 at fourth-seeded Lincoln in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

The Fighting Zebras defeated the Hawks 3-1 for the Division- III title in 2017.

Central Valley had two goals negated on offside penalties during the rematch.

"We were the better team this year," Leon said. "We had a lot of scoring chances. We just didn't finish. We made the wrong decisions with the ball throughout the game. That was a reflection of the whole season."

Hawk sophomore goalkeeper Erick Martinez made five saves in defeat.

Central Valley upset fifth-seeded Roseville 10-9 in a penalty-kick shootout on Feb. 20.

"We were ready," Leon said. "We spend a lot of time practicing PKs."

Jonathan Garcia made both of his penalty kicks, including the game-winner.

Gerardo Flores, Gilberto Flores, Victor Torres, Edivaldo Yepez, Axel Bautista, Christian Palomares, Roberto Pelayo and Cesar Grajeda also converted their PKs.

"It was nerve racking," Gerardo said. "At the end of the day, we got the W."

Martinez totaled 12 saves. He blocked two of Roseville's penalty-kick attempts.

"That's one of his best games this season," Leon said. "He's been in that situation with his travel team. That helps a lot with confidence."

Added Gerardo: "He did amazing."

Grajeda, a sophomore, starred on defense.

Cesar marked Austin Wehner, who led Roseville in scoring this season with 19 goals.

"He's been our most consistent player throughout the season," Leon said. "I knew he could handle the pressure."

Neither team scored during 20 minutes of overtime.

Gerardo Flores accounted for the Hawks' lone goal during regulation.

"I was happy with the performance," Leon said. "It could have gone either way."