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CV boys soccer advances to semi-final round of Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs
Newcomer Enriquez leads Central Valley past Pioneer, East Union
Gerardo Enriquez celebrates with Jorge Bustos after scoring what proved to be the game-winning goal versus Pionner in the playoffs on Thursday in Ceres. - photo by DALE BUTLER/Courier photo

Winners of six straight conference titles, Central Valley High School's varsity boys soccer team failed to finish first in league play this year.

The fourth-seeded Hawks won a pair of games in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoffs last week.

Central Valley (16-1-8) will try to exact revenge against top-seeded Christian Brothers today on the road at 3 p.m.

The Falcons defeated the Hawks 3-2 for the section title last season.

"Nobody was expecting us to last this long," Central Valley head coach Omar Leon said. "We're just thinking about Wednesday. We have to play a perfect game against that kind of team."

Central Valley edged fifth-seeded Pioneer 1-0 in the quarterfinals on Thursday in Ceres.

Gerardo Enriquez scored the winning goal.

Enriquez, formerly of Mexico, blasted the ball into the net from close-range with less than five minutes to play.

Robert Perez delivered a cross pass from the left side.

Hawk goalkeeper Ramon Ruiz totaled 10 saves versus the Patriots.

"It was a hard game," Enriquez said through Hawk teammate/translator Giovanni Avalos. "It was back and forth. I knew we were going to win. We have a good team."

Pioneer had a goal disallowed with 11:15 remaining in the game.

The Patriots were whistled for offsides on the play.

Enriquez has collected four goals and five assists in eight games. He was cleared to play by the California Interscholastic Federation on Oct. 6.

"He wanted to be a part of the team," Leon said. "He fit in as soon as he came out to practice. I saw him touch the ball. You don't have to be a genius to know when someone can play. He gives us another option. He's very fast. He has size. He's smart. He's earned the respect of the other kids."

Enriquez also accounted for Central Valley's lone goal during its 1-0 win over 13th-seeded East Union on Nov. 4 in Ceres.

"The best thing to ever happen to me is to end up at this school," Enriquez said. "I'm comfortable and have good teammates. I get along with every player."