Ceres High’s varsity girls soccer program won one of two games to earn a top-eight finish in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoff bracket.
“We took a step in the right direction,” coach Miguel Saldate said.
The Bulldogs managed to compile a 15-8-2 overall record, place second in the Western Athletic Conference (10-3-1) and advance to the playoffs for the fifth straight year despite competing shorthanded for most of the season.
“This has been one of the hardest years because we were short on players."Coach Miguel Saldate
“This has been one of the hardest years because we were short on players,” Saldate said. “I want to thank the girls that put 100 percent into the season. They pushed a little extra and put their hearts into each and every game.”
Seventh-seeded Ceres High lost 4-2 on the road to No. 2 Vista del Lago in the quarterfinals on Feb. 15.
“It’s understandable,” Saldate said. “We played a team that’s ranked higher than us.”
The Bulldogs never recovered after allowing three goals in the final eight minutes of the first half.
“We were doing great,” Saldate said. “It was very shocking to see them score on us like that. Little mistakes cost us.”
Edith Larranaga and Emilia Bentances both scored once for Ceres High.
Kalyani Hermosillo collected one assist.
Bulldog goalkeeper Siriana Gudino totaled 14 saves.
Host Ceres High secured its first playoff win in program history and under Saldate’s guidance with a thrilling 2-1 victory over No. 10 Antelope on Feb. 14.
The Bulldogs lost in the opening round of the playoffs the previous four years.
“This is something we’ve never done before,” Saldate said. “It’s pretty special.”
Bentances and Hermosillo netted one goal apiece.
Larranaga and Mariah Trevino chipped in with one assist each.
Gudino had eight saves.