Central Valley's varsity boys soccer team remained in the hunt for the Western Athletic Conference title and boosted its Sac-Joaquin Section playoff hopes with a thrilling 2-1 home win over crosstown-rival Ceres High on Saturday.
The Hawks erased a one-goal deficit on their way to pulling away for a 4-2 victory against the Bulldogs earlier this season.
"It's always stressful playing Ceres," Central Valley head coach Omar Leon said. "Some of the kids put a lot of pressure on themselves. You don't want to lose to your city rival."
The Hawks (9-3-6, 4-1-2) moved into a tie for first place in the WAC standings with Livingston.
The Bulldogs (3-12-3, 1-4-1) dropped to fourth place.
"Winning today was crucial because it gives us three more points," Leon said. "We want to finish as high as we can in the WAC."
The Flores brothers, twins Gilberto and Gerardo, combined for the winning goal versus visiting Ceres High last week.
Gilberto scored from close-range off a pass from Gerardo with 20 minutes to play.
"I'd rather have them playing for me instead of against me," Leon said. "Both of them are gifted players."
Said Gerardo: "We have good chemistry."
Gerardo also assisted on Angel Arellano's goal, which gave Central Valley a 1-0 lead.
Arellano and fellow Hawk upperclassmen Jonathan Garcia and Pedro Amaya were recognized prior to the start of the crosstown showdown.
"It was their last home game," Gerardo said. "We wanted to win for them."
Angel turned in a memorable performance on Senior Day.
"The effort he (Arellano) put in at practice finally paid off," Leon said.
Hawk goalkeeper Erick Martinez, formerly of Ceres High, totaled two saves against the Bulldogs.
Christian Martinez accounted for Ceres High's lone goal.
Martinez's penalty kick evened the score at 1-1 in the second half.
Bulldog goalkeeper Freddi Lopez made three saves.
"It was a competitive game," Leon said. "They were marking really well and pressuring."
"It's a good feeling beating them both times," Gerardo added. "It's always competitive against Ceres. It's a rivalry game. Everyone always gives 100 percent."
Central Valley and Ceres High had three and four games remaining on their respective conference schedules as of Monday.
The Hawks will claim the WAC title if they win out and Livingston gets upset.
"They have the tiebreaker," Leon said. "They'd have to lose."