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CHS boys soccer remains in hunt for playoff berth
Ceres High defender Christian Garcia (middle) helped limit defending Western Athletic Conference champion Patterson to one goal during last weeks contest. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High School's varsity boys soccer team boosted its playoff chances with a pair of wins in Western Athletic Conference play this past week.

The Bulldogs earned a total of six points after posting victories against Patterson and Los Banos.

"The kids were motivated," Ceres High head coach Miguel Saldate said. "We can still get that fourth spot. We got the talent to be up there."

The Bulldogs upset 2014 WAC-champion Patterson 3-1 on Wednesday in Ceres.

Ceres High avenged a 1-0 loss.

"We didn't play bad the first game against them," Saldate said. "One mistake killed us over there. It's a good, rivalry. They play very hard. We try to do the same thing."
Bulldog Brandon Garcia collected one goal and two assists during the rematch.

Andrott Alvarez and Ulises Diaz both scored once.

Adrian Espinoza tallied one assist.

Bulldog goalkeeper Martin Reyes had 10 saves.

Alvarez broke a scoreless tie late in the opening half when he finished from 18 yards out. The ball deflected off a Patterson defender.

Ceres High increased its lead to 2-0 midway through the second half on Diaz's close-range goal. Garcia delivered the cross pass from the right side of the field.

Ahead 2-1, Garcia added an insurance goal.

"We had more control of the ball this time," Saldate said.

Adrian Covarrubias, Christian Garcia, Gustavo Hernandez and Donnavin Koeurn were major contributors on defense.

"They played very well," Saldate said.

Visiting Ceres High overcame a slow start and rolled to a 3-0 win over last-place Los Banos on Oct. 12.

Garcia scored twice.

Juan Castillo had one goal.

Victor Del Razo chipped in with one assist.

Reyes totaled five saves.

"The first half, I was concerned," said Saldate, whose team held a slim 1-0 lead at the break. "We were overconfident. That can kill a team. They were more focused in the second half."

Ceres High boosted its postseason hopes last week.

The WAC will send four teams to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

Pacheco (7-1-0, 21 points), Livingston (7-1-0, 21) and Patterson (6-2-1, 19) are in a tight battle for the top spot.

Ceres High (4-5-0, 12), Central Valley (3-5-0, 9) and El Capitan (2-6-1, 7) are trying to claim the conference's final playoff berth.

Ceres High will play at crosstown-rival Central Valley today at 4 p.m.

The Bulldogs shut out the Hawks 3-0 on Sept. 28.