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CV, CHS soccer standouts recognized
Benjamin Larranaga and Eberardo Huaracha
Ceres High boys soccer standout Benjamin Larranaga (left) was named to the WAC First Team while Central Valley High School boys soccer standout Eberardo Huaracha was selected to the CCC First Team.

A combined nine members of Central Valley’s and Ceres High’s boys soccer programs were rewarded during their respective conference’s year-end head coaches meetings last month.

The second-place Hawks of the Central California Conference (7-3-2) had five players earn recognition for their contributions this winter.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t get any specialty awards this year,” head coach Horatio Garcia said.

Central Valley’s Eberardo Huaracha and Nicolas Gil were both named to the CCC First Team on Feb. 12 at Buhach Colony High School.

Huaracha, a senior defensive center midfielder, totaled two goals and three assists.

He was also one of the Hawks’ team captains.

“He’s a very smart player,” Garcia said. “He’s physical. He knows how to position himself on the pitch.”

Gil, a senior defensive center midfielder, totaled one goal and three assists.

“Even though he’s 5-6 or 5-7, he plays like a 6-footer,” Garcia said. “He’s a physical player. He’s really quick. He’s the soul of the team.”

Central Valley’s Alexis Cervantes and Yahir Perez were both named to the CCC Second Team.

Cervantes, a junior striker, scored a team-high 22 goals.

He also dished out three assists.

“Alexis is an amazing player,” Garcia said. “He’s a very dangerous attacker. He’s one of the fastest players on our team. He knows ow to position his body to beat defensive players. He’s very intelligent.”

Perez, a junior center attacking midfielder, collected eight goals and one assist.

“The way he controls the ball and dribbles is amazing,” Garcia said. “His vision is there. He’s a great all-round player.”

Hawk junior center back Gilbert Zamora III was named Central Valley’s CCC Sportsmanship Award winner.

He had one goal.

Zamora spent his first two of high school at Ceres.

He served as one of the Hawks’ team captains this season.

“Gilbert’s very dedicated and very responsible,” Garcia said. “He tried to get everyone to do the right thing at all times. Even though he’s quiet, it doesn’t take away from his leadership. He leads by example.”

Ceres High’s Benjamin Larranaga, Enrique Murillo, Alex Lopez and Joshua Yepez were recognized in a vote by the Western Athletic Conference’s head coaches on Feb. 7 at Johansen High School.

“They deserved it,” Bulldogs’ leader Gilbert Zamora Jr. said. “They showed up to every practice and game. They played hard.”

Larranaga, a team captain and senior center back, was named to the WAC First Team. He had three goals and one assist.

“He was the heart of the defense,” Zamora Jr. said. “He’s very tough and technical. He’s a good teammate and player. We depended on him every game.”

Murillo, a sophomore forward, also received first-team, all-WAC accolades.

He had seven goals and nine assists.

“I wish I could have more players like Enrique,” Zamora Jr. said. “He’s a player other teams had to watch out for. Most of the time he had a couple defenders on him.”

Lopez and Yepez were both selected to the WAC Second Team.

Lopez, a junior center back, was a newcomer to the varsity level.

Yepez, a senior left back, had one goal and two assists.

He also contributed at center back, left midfielder and forward.

The Bulldogs posted a 4-7-3 record en route to a fifth-place finish in the WAC standings.