Central Valley’s boys soccer team secured the Central California Conference’s second playoff spot during the final week of the regular season.
“We got three wins against three tough opponents,” head coach Horatio Garcia said. “The boys knew how important it was. They wanted to avoid not making playoffs.”
The Hawks improved to 16-5-6 overall and finished 7-3-2 in the CCC standings after blanking the second-place Patterson Tigers 2-0 on Thursday at the Patterson Community Stadium.
“Everybody played well,” Garcia said.
Central Valley earned a season sweep versus Patterson.
“Last year, they beat us twice,” Garcia said. “This year, we returned the favor.”
The Hawks edged the Tigers 4-3 on Jan. 30 in Ceres.
Yahir Perez scored a pair of unassisted goals during the second meeting.
Host Central Valley shut out Merced 3-0 on Senior Night on Feb. 7.
Upperclassmen Nicolas Gil, Eberardo Huaracha, Jose Mendoza, Adan Mercado, Oscar Mercado, Osmar Vargas, Salvador Vera and Manuel Villalon competed in their final regular-season game at home.
“We honored them and they played most of the game,” Garcia said. “It was a thank you to them.”
The Hawks had three different players score goals versus the Tigers, including Alexis Cervantes, Alejandro Garcia and Gilbert Zamora III.
Visiting Central Valley edged third-place Atwater 2-1 on Feb. 6.
Cervantes accounted for both of the Hawks’ goals.
“It was a very physical game,” Garcia said. “Both teams knew the importance of the win.”
The top four teams in the CCC qualified for the playoffs, including Golden Valley, Central Valley, Atwater and Patterson.
“We finished the regular season on a high note,” Garcia said. “Our objective was to win league. We’re really happy being in second place. We needed to win our final three games to lock up the second spot.”
Central Valley also earned the right to host a first-round playoff game for the second consecutive year. The Hawks were awarded the No. 6 seed for the Division-I playoff bracket.
“Our strength of schedule really helped us,” Garcia said. “It (playing at home) will be a huge advantage for us. The boys are motivated to continue the winning streak. They want to make history.”
CHS girls second in WAC
Ceres High’s girls soccer team closed out the regular season with a 2-0 victory over Grace Davis in a makeup game rescheduled due to poor field conditions on Feb. 6 at CUSD Stadium.
Upperclassmen Abigayil Prado, Camille Clemmer, Natalie Corbin, Jasmine Ravelo, Erica Vieira and Giulia Puonzo donned Bulldog uniforms for the final time at home.
Kristina Corbin was sidelined with an injury.
“Most of the seniors played,” head coach Hannah Menk said. “They were happy to win. No one was sad because we have playoffs.
Ceres High improved to 11-5-1 on the season.
The Bulldogs earned the Western Athletic Conference’s second playoff spot (10-3-1) for the second year in a row.
“I’m really proud of them,” Menk said. “My girls mesh well together. The chemistry is more cohesive. They’re friends on and off the field.”
Prado and Arianna Diaz both tallied one goal as Ceres High built a 2-0 lead in the opening half.
Diaz scored from 18 yards away five minutes into the game.
Prado scored from 23 yards away as the ball hit the post before deflecting off Grace Davis goalie’s head and into the back of the net.
Bulldog goalkeeper Lillian Blevins totaled six saves.