Central Valley’s girls soccer program dropped two of three games during the final week of the Central California Conference season.
The Hawks had an overall winning record this winter, but fell short of their main goal of qualifying for the playoffs.
Fifth-place Central Valley (11-10-1, 5-7-0) competed shorthanded for the majority of the year as six players were lost for various reasons.
Isabella Gudino (forward), Bella Carrera (forward) and Maria Mendoza (defender) were sidelined with injuries.
“We were very strong at the beginning,” head coach Miguel Larranaga said. “The injuries definitely hurt us. We would have made playoffs if we had everyone. We probably would have won league.”
Central Valley lost its season finale, 3-0, to first-place Patterson on Senior Night in Ceres on Feb. 9.
Carrera, Angie Medrano, Yukari Mendoza and Michelle Soto suited up for the Hawks for the final time.
They were recognized before the contest.
Mendoza totaled seven saves at goalkeeper.
“It was a sad night all-round losing those players, losing the game and not making playoffs,” Larranaga said. “All the girls were crying.”
Mendoza, Medrano and Soto all played four seasons of varsity soccer.
Carrera was a first-year varsity player. She competed at the junior-varsity level the previous three seasons.
“All three of them (Mendoza, Medrano and Soto) were very committed from day one,” Larranaga said. “They were always there. You appreciate having players like that on the team. She (Carrera) was a very good player.”
Sixth-place Merced rallied for a 3-1 victory over host Central Valley on Feb. 7.
“We dominated early in the game,” Larranaga said.
The Hawks allowed three unanswered goals.
Central Valley competed with no subs.
“We played more offensive and paid the price."
Viviana Flores accounted for the Hawks’ lone goal.
Yukari Mendoza made five saves.
Host Central Valley shut out last-place Atwater 3-0 on Feb. 6.
Medrano, Anali Mendoza and Daniela Rodriguez all scored once.
Yukari Mendoza had four saves.
The top three teams in CCC qualified for the postseason.
Patterson (11-5-5, 9-1-2), Golden Valley (9-3-2, 9-3-0) and El Capitan (11-9-1, 6-5-1) finished first, second and third, respectively.
“We needed to beat Buhach Colony and Merced (during the second half of the CCC season) to make playoffs,” Larranaga said. “It was doable. We came up short.”
Central Valley lost four games in a row after Gudino, Carrera and Mendoza were relegated to the bench.
“It would have helped if we had those players. They really make a difference.”