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CHS boys remain in first place in soccer
Daniel Cardenas
Freshman Daniel Cardenas and Ceres High’s boys soccer team will play at Pacheco today and host to Los Banos on Friday. - photo by Dale Butler

Ceres High’s first-place boys soccer team won a pair of league games by the slimmest of margins this past week.

The Bulldogs moved to 12-5-0 overall and 9-1-0 in Western Athletic Conference play after besting Johansen and Beyer by a combined score of 2-0.

Ceres High defeated Johansen 5-0 and Beyer 10-1 earlier this season.

“It was a little harder for us to score,” head coach Gilbert Zamora Jr. said. “They were playing more defensive.”

Ceres High shut out Johansen 1-0 on Friday at Bulldog Stadium.

“We had a lot of shots on goal,” Zamora said. “We just had to be patient.”

Luis Alvarez broke a scoreless tie when he netted a goal off a pass from Enrique Murillo during the second half.

Bulldog goalkeepers Jesse Villalobos and Alfredo Toledo made a combined eight saves.

Ceres High edged Beyer 1-0 on Wednesday at Bulldog Stadium.

Isaac Arana and Eduardo Ramirez combined for what proved to be the winning goal.

Arana scored in the first half. Ramirez delivered the pass.

Villalobos totaled three saves.

“You have to give Beyer credit,” Zamora said. “Their defense was good.”

Ceres High has four games left on its conference schedule.

The Bulldogs will play at Pacheco today and host Los Banos on Friday.

Pacheco has the second-best team in the WAC.

“I’m confident we’re going to finish in first place,” Zamora said. “It’s not going to be easy. We’re going to be challenged. Hopefully, everything works out for us.”

CV boys split with EC

Central Valley’s boys soccer team secured a split against Central California Conference-rival El Capitan this season.

The Hawks avenged a 2-1 loss to the Gauchos with a 2-0 win on Wednesday in Ceres.

Central Valley competed shorthanded during the CCC match as eight players, including four starters, did not attend the game due to COVID protocols.

“Based on how many players we had available, we played well,” Hawks’ second-year head coach Horatio Garcia said. “COVID is hitting us really hard. Little by little, we’re getting players back. But we’re also losing players due to COVID.”

Right wing Isaiah Castillo and defensive midfielder Everardo Huaracha led the way.

Castillo, who was assessed a red card during the first meeting, accounted for both of the Hawks’ goals.

“That’s one of Isaiah’s best games of the season,” Garcia said. “It was an awesome surprise. He hadn’t scored in a while. He needed it. He stepped up. He was making great runs and opening the field of play. It was big redemption for him.”

“Everardo made really good plays on offense and was helping out on defense as well,” he added.

Hawk Alexis Abargo made one save while starting at goalkeeper.

Gael Navarro totaled five saves in the second half.

Central Valley outscored El Capitan 2-0 in the opening 40 minutes.

“We controlled the first half,” Garcia said.

The Hawks played a man down versus the Gauchos during the first meeting.

Castillo picked up a red card in the opening half.

“Most of the game was played on their side of the field,” Garcia said. “We kept attacking. We could have won that game with 10 players.”

Central Valley improved to 13-5-1 on the season and 6-2-0 in CCC play.

The second-place Hawks will play twice this week.

Central Valley will face Atwater today and Buhach Colony on Friday.

First-place Patterson has a two-game lead over Central Valley in the league standings.

“Overall, I’m happy,” Garcia said. “But not overly excited about our record. The losses we’ve had are against teams ranked in the top 50 in the state. We’ve had one of the strongest strengths of schedules in the section.”

CHS girls drop to fourth

Ceres High’s girls soccer team tried it best to keep pace with Beyer and Johansen this past week.

The Patriots and Vikings both prevailed as the shorthanded Bulldogs couldn’t overcome the absence of a handful of key players sidelined for various reasons.

“We had to go into survival mode,” head coach Hannah Menk said. “I’m just glad the girls are able to have a full season.”

Ceres High lost 9-1 to Beyer in Western Athletic Conference play on Friday in Modesto.

The Bulldogs were missing four starters because of COVID protocols and injuries.

“We weren’t at full-strength,” Menk said. 

Ceres High’s Abi Prado prevented the shutout by scoring from the halfway line.

“It was a beautiful goal,” Menk said. 

Bulldog goalkeeper Llian Blevins missed part of the game with a finger injury.

Prado and Monica Castillon logged playing time in her absence.

“Not having our starting goalie didn’t help,” Menk said. “She reentered the game in the final 10 minutes.”

The Bulldogs lost 6-1 to the Patriots earlier this season in Ceres.

“Beyer has a strong team,” Menk said. 

Johansen exacted revenge with a 5-2 win over Ceres High on Jan. 18 in Modesto.

The Bulldogs won the first meeting, 3-2.

Four Ceres High players were sidelined due to COVID protocols during the rematch.

“We had players playing in positions they’re not familiar with,” Menk said.

Paris Moreno and Arianna Diaz both scored once versus the Vikings.

Natalie Cabrales collected one assist.

Ceres High (9-6, 7-4) dropped from second to fourth in the WAC standings.

The Bulldogs had four games remaining on their league schedule as of Sunday.

The top four teams in league qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

“I’d be shocked if we didn’t make playoffs,” Menk said.

Gauchos 4, Hawks 1

Central Valley’s girls soccer team suffered a 4-1 loss while competing against host El Capitan on Wednesday.

The Hawks competed with a depleted roster as a combined six players were inactive due to COVID quarantine and injuries.

“I had to move two girls up from JV,” Central Valley head coach Miguel Larranaga said. “It changed our whole plan. It’s very frustrating not being able to play with a full squad. Other schools are dealing with the same problem.”

Hawk freshman Gianna Silva scored an unassisted goal in defeat.

Central Valley trailed 3-1 at the break.

The Hawks limited the Gauchos to just one goal after intermission.

“They didn’t dominate the whole game,” Larranaga said. “The second half was more even.”

Fourth-place Central Valley (6-7-3, 1-4-2) dropped to fourth place in the Central California Conference standings.

The top three teams in the CCC will be awarded playoff berths at the end of the regular season.

“We have to win out and get help,” Larranaga said. “It’s going to be really tough.”

The Hawks will play Merced, Atwater and Buhach Colony this week.