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CV girls advance to soccer semifinals
Central Valleys Daniela Yepez starred on defense during the opening week of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoffs. The Hawks won twice. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley's varsity girls soccer program kept its Sac-Joaquin Section title hopes alive last week after collecting back-to-back wins in the Division-III playoffs.

"We want to get to the championship game," Hawks head coach Miguel Larranaga said. "That's our goal. We want to make history."

Fourth-seeded Central Valley defeated sixth-seeded Vista del Lago 4-2 in penalty kicks during their quarterfinal matchup on Friday in Ceres.

Mariana Garibay clinched the victory when she blasted her PK into the upper right corner of the net.

Garibay's heroics set off a wild celebration near midfield.

"It was perfect execution," Larranaga said.

Abigail Martinez, Jocelyn Lopez and Jocelyn Rodriguez also made their penalty kicks.

"We knew we could be in a situation like that," Larranaga said. "We've been practicing PKs for two weeks. We wanted to be ready."

Central Valley goalkeeper Emely Lopez blocked Vista del Lago's third penalty-kick attempt.

"You can always count on her doing something amazing," Larranaga said. "She plays better under pressure. She likes the challenge."

Hawk defenders Abigail Martinez, Citlaly Salinas, Jocelyn Rodriguez and Daniela Yepez helped limit Vista del Lago to one goal during a combined 100 minutes of regulation and overtime.

"They did an amazing job," Larranaga said.

Central Valley outscored Vista del Lago 1-0 in the opening half.

Lopez tallied a goal with less than five minutes to play.

Vista del Lago evened the score early in the second half.

Tied at 1-1 at the end of regulation, Central Valley and Vista del Lago played two 10-minute periods of scoreless overtime.

"We knew it was going to be a tough game," Larranaga said. "They're the defending champions."

Garibay's goal lifted host Central Valley to a 1-0 win over 14th-seeded Pioneer in the first round of the playoffs on Feb. 21.

Mixtly Vega delivered the pass when she lofted a corner kick into the box.

"We only scored one goal but we dominated the game," Larranaga said.

Central Valley will travel to Manteca today and face third-seeded Sierra in the semifinals.

The contest will get underway at 6:30 p.m.

"I'm happy for the girls," Larranaga said. "They deserve to be there. We'll be ready. It's not going to be easy. We're going to have to play our best game."