Two days removed from tasting defeat for the first time this season, Central Valley's varsity girls soccer team made the short trip across town to face rival Ceres High.
The visiting Hawks struggled in the first half and were fortunate to trail by just one goal.
Central Valley overcame a sluggish start and pulled away for a 3-1 victory over Ceres High on Wednesday at Bulldog Stadium.
"The 2-1 loss to El Capitan is probably one of the best things that happened to them," Hawks head coach Cyndi Meshach said. "The timing was good. It humbled them. They know they have to play hard every minute of every game. In order for us to be dominant everybody has to step up."
First-place Central Valley improved to 11-1-0 overall and 4-1-0 in the Western Athletic Conference standings.
Second-place Ceres High dropped to 7-3-1 on the year and 3-1-1 in the conference play.
"If we can stay focused and play hard, we're contenders," said Meshach, whose team finished behind the 2015 WAC champion Bulldogs last spring.
"I believe we have a really tough team this year and I think we can get far if we stay strong all season," Hawks freshman forward Yesenia Zuniga said. "We all get along very well as a family. That's big because it helps us communicate more on the field as we continue to strive for better success."
Zuniga and senior Evelyn Andrade both collected one goal and one assist versus Ceres High.
Sophomore Laiza Quintero added one goal.
Freshman Abigail Martinez had one assist.
Sophomore goalkeeper Emely Lopez totaled six saves.
Sophomore Miranda Wilds led the Bulldogs with one goal.
Freshman Karina Estrada had one assist.
Sophomore goalie Angelmarie Coral tallied 13 saves, the majority coming in the second half.
Central Valley outscored Ceres High 3-0 after intermission.
"They controlled the second half," Bulldogs head coach Miguel Saldate said. "We couldn't stop them. It was all Central Valley. We had no possession of the ball. We couldn't do anything. It was a frustrating game."
"It was night and day," Meshach said. "I'm not surprised. We have so many weapons on our team it can be overwhelming."
The Bulldogs dominated possession in the opening half but only had one goal to show for it.
Wilds scored from 20 yards out in the 32nd minute off Estrada's free kick.
"We had a lot of chances in the first half," Saldate said. "If we would have scored a second goal, it would have been a different game. There's going to be another game. Now, we know how their girls play. We'll set up our lineup a little different. They have a good team. We just need to play smarter."
Central Valley will try to exact revenge against El Capitan on April 27.
The Hawks will play host to the crosstown Bulldogs on May 2.
"The good thing about the loss was that it humbled us as a team," Andrade said. "We were able to realize our mistakes and try our best to fix them."