Central Valley’s varsity boys soccer team made history during its first season competing in the Central California Conference.
Central Valley needed a tie or win versus El Capitan last week to secure its seventh league title in program history under head coach Omar Leon’s guidance.
The Hawks built a commanding three-goal lead in the opening half on their way to coasting to a 5-1 win over the visiting Gauchos on Feb. 5 in Ceres.
Central Valley avenged a 1-0 loss on senior night.
“We came in with the mentality to hunt. We were all hungry.”Erick Martinez
“We came in with the mentality to hunt,” Hawks’ junior goalkeeper Erick Martinez said. “We were all hungry.”
The Hawks amassed a 17-4-2 overall record and won 10 of 12 conference games during the regular season.
Central Valley had a balanced scoring attack versus second-place El Capitan (11-6-4, 7-2-3) as five different players tallied a goal.
Gerardo Flores, Isaac Juarez and Edivaldo Yepez led the way with one goal and one assist each.
Jesus Yepez and Abel Calvo both scored once.
Martinez totaled five saves at goalkeeper.
Central Valley’s defense limited El Capitan to just one goal.
“I’m proud of every single one of our players,” Martinez said.
Coach Leon was lifted into the air by his players after the title-clinching victory.
He was also doused with ice water from a Gatorade bucket.
The Hawks had reason to celebrate after the game.
Central Valley ended a four-year title drought.
The Hawks won their last conference championship during the 2013-14 school year.
Leon has led Central Valley to titles in three different leagues, including the CCC, Western Athletic Conference and Valley Oak League.
“For us to be able to do it in a new league and higher division, it’s a great feeling,” Martinez said. “I’m really happy for everyone, especially the seniors. The underclassmen wanted to win this for them and make sure their last season was memorable.”
Top-seeded Central Valley will face No. 16 Stagg in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II playoffs.
The Hawks have advanced to the section finals five times.