Miguel Saldate, head coach of Ceres High School's varsity boys soccer team, talked about the importance of scoring first leading up to last week's crosstown matchup against four-time Western Athletic Conference champion Central Valley.
Cristopher Torres accounted for the game's first goal and Martin Reyes stopped a penalty kick late in the second half as the Bulldogs earned a hard-fought 1-1 draw with the Hawks on Sept. 29 at Central Valley.
"It's better than a loss," Torres said. "At least we get some points for the tie. Overall, it was a good game. We felt confident. We knew it wasn't going to be easy. We both have very good talent."
Reyes totaled 15 saves for the third-place Bulldogs (7-3-1, 2-2-1 WAC).
Juan Martinez accounted for Central Valley's lone goal.
Ramon Ruiz made eight saves for the second-place Hawks (9-1-5, 3-0-2 WAC).
Torres converted a steal into a goal midway through the first half. Cristopher blasted a shot into the upper-right corner of the net.
Less than 10 minutes later, Central Valley's sideline and cheering section erupted when Martinez tallied a goal in similar fashion.
Reyes made his biggest save of the season in the second half.
Martin dove to his left and blocked Jorge Bustos' penalty-kick attempt.
Central Valley squandered a chance to go ahead, 2-1.
"We have five options," Hawks head coach Omar Leon said. "The first two kids (Angel Lopez and Juan Martinez) didn't want to take it. He (Bustos) was the third option. He always makes them in practice. We should have won. That was the winning goal. We dsidn't put it in the net."
"You get nervous," Reyes said. "Everybody screaming your name makes you more comfortable. I read his eyes and guessed which way he was going."
"That kept us going," Torres said. "I thought it was going to be 2-1. He came through and saved us."
Ceres High's final shot attempt, which was taken from close-range by Emmanuel Toledo, was cleared by Central Valley's Custodio Vasquez and Jesus Mendoza just before time expired.
Ceres High was assessed seven yellow cards during the course of the game.
Bulldog Jose Benitez was ejected from the contest for yellow-card accumulation. He picked up a second yellow card for rough play.
"It's always emotional and physical against Ceres High," Leon said. "Nobody really had control of the game. It was back and forth. They have good players. We have good players."
"There was more pressure because they're our rivals," Reyes said. "I was expecting a close game. They're really good but we didn't let their best players do anything. I was confident the whole game. I got one of the best defenses in the whole league."
"We should play like that every game," Saldate said.
"Every game is important," Torres said. "From here on, we have to win every game to make playoffs."