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CHS boys striving for playoff berth
• CV boys closing in on second straight league championship
Miguel Sanchez
Miguel Sanchez and Central Valley’s varsity boys soccer team defeated Merced and Atwater by a combined 8-1 score last week. - photo by Dale Butler

Ceres High’s reigning Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III champion varsity boys soccer team struggled during the first half of the season.

The Bulldogs won a pair of league games this past week to remain in the hunt for a playoff berth.

“I’m not surprised,” new head coach Gilbert Zamora said. “We’re healthy now. We’re doing really well.”

Ceres High moved into a two-way tie for third place in the Western Athletic Conference standings with Los Banos after blanking first-place Johansen 1-0 on Jan. 31 in Modesto.

Ceres High and Johansen tied 2-2 on Dec. 20 at Bulldog Stadium.

“We felt confident we were going to win this time. We had all of our players healthy. It was a really good game.”
Coach Gilbert Zamora

“We felt confident we were going to win this time,” Zamora said. “We had all of our players healthy. It was a really good game.”

The Bulldogs improved to 5-1-4 in the WAC.

The Vikings dropped to 8-1-1.

“I told you we were going to get tested this week,” Zamora said. “We did and everything went in our favor. In these games, whoever makes the first mistake is going to lose.”

Antonio Medina tallied the winning goal.

He scored from 10 yards away in the first half off a pass from Daniel Carranza.

Oscar Mercado totaled three saves at goalkeeper

“Our defense played great,” Zamora said. “We were aggressive. We shut them down.”

Ceres High beat Beyer 3-1 on July 29 at the Mary Grogan Soccer Complex.

Medina accounted for all three of the Bulldogs’ goals.

Andres Madriz and Luis Yepez both collected one assist.

“We could have scored more goals,” Zamora said. “We played most of the game on their side of the field.”

The Bulldogs and Patriots battled to a 1-1 tie on Dec. 18 in Ceres.

Ceres High will play host to Pacheco today and at Los Banos on Friday.

Both games will begin at 5:30 p.m.

CV stays atop standings

Central Valley’s varsity boys soccer team increased its point total to 20 in the Central California Conference standings.

The Hawks remained in first place in the CCC after topping Merced and Atwater by a combined score of 8-1 this past week. Central Valley won the conference title last season.

“It’s definitely a good feeling knowing we can compete for back-to-back championships,” goalkeeper Erick Martinez-Stucchi said. “We have to remain humble and hungry. Everybody has to be on the same page. Any loss at this point will cost us heavily.”

Central Valley improved to 14-3-3 overall and 6-1-2 in league with a commanding 6-1 win over Merced on Jan. 30 in Ceres.

The Hawks held a four-point lead over the second-place Patterson Tigers (10-3-1, 5-2-1) as of Monday.

“The first time we played Merced, it was a little closer,” Martinez-Stucchi said. “We have a different mentality now. If we want to win league again, we have to play better. There’s still a lot we can do.”

Central Valley’s Alex Bautista scored twice against Merced.

Jesus Yepez, Leo Giovanni Ayala and Alexis Jimenez all contributed one goal.

Central Valley shut out host Atwater 2-0 on Jan. 28.

Alexis Jimenez and Isaac Juarez both scored once for the Hawks.

Martinez-Stucchi totaled seven saves.

“The game had no reason to be that close,” Martinez-Stucchi said. “We played down to their level.”

The Hawks will play against Golden Valley and Buhach Colony this week.

“We expect to win those games and preferably by big margins,” Martinez-Stucchi said.