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CV girls advance to quarterfinals of D-II playoffs
Central Valleys Laiza Quintero draws a foul against St. Marys Scylla Alavizos in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II playoffs last week. The Hawks prevailed, 5-4, in a penalty-kick shootout. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

After repeating as Western Athletic Conference champions, Central Valley's varsity girls soccer team turned its focus to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II playoffs.

Seeking to claim their first-ever section championship, the Hawks duplicated last season's performance by advancing to the quarterfinal round.

"There is no way we shouldn't be able to win a section title (in the future)," Central Valley first-year head coach Maria Briones said. "We have to shoot for that. That's our main goal. I already started planning our schedule for next season. I want to play tougher teams to prepare us for playoffs."

Sixth-seeded Central Valley lost 4-0 at No. 3 Granite Bay in the quarterfinals on Friday.

The Hawks surrendered three goals, including two off cornerkicks, during the second half.

"I'm very satisfied with the way the girls played," Briones said. "The score does not reflect how hard they worked. We just got beat by a team with more experience."

Granite Bay earned the right to play No. 10 Roseville for a berth to the section championship game.

Roseville upset No. 2 Vacaville 1-0 in the quarterfinals.

"If we would have advanced, we could have taken the whole thing," Briones said.

Tied at 1-1 after regulation and two overtime periods, host Central Valley edged No. 11 St. Mary's 5-4 in a penalty-kick shootout in the opening round on Wednesday in Ceres.

"We practiced PKs the day before because St. Mary's tied so many times," Briones said. "We were prepared."

Abigail Martinez accounted for the winning penalty kick.

Jocelyn Lopez, Jocelyn Rodriguez, Mixtly Vega and Laiza Quintero also had successful attempts.

"They were very confident," Briones said. "They were focused on putting the ball where it needed to be."

Down 1-0, Martinez evened the score with a goal in the 38th minute off a pass from Vega.

Central Valley posted a 20-3-1 overall record this winter.

The Hawks collected 13 wins, one loss and one tie en route to finishing in first place in the Western Athletic Conference standings.

"I'm sad that our season is over," Briones said. "I'm happy with how the girls played this year. They played with a lot of heart. They worked extremely hard. I'm so grateful for that."

Central Valley continued its winning tradition under new leadership.

"I came here for one reason," Briones said. "And that's to win a section title. I'll be satisfied when that happens. This is a group that can do it."