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CV girls soccer team wins WAC crown
Hawk Abby Martinez (pictured right) and Bulldog Miranda Wilds battle for possession during last weeks crosstown contest. Central Valley outscored Ceres High 2-0 in the second half. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Fueled by a desire to reach unprecedented heights, Central Valley High School's varsity girls soccer team wasn't going to be denied this year.

Led by a handful of veterans and a host of newcomers, the Hawks made history by capturing their first-ever conference title.

Central Valley fielded its inaugural varsity girls soccer team during the 2006-07 school year.

"It really means a lot to us," Hawk freshman forward Yesenia Zuniga said. "The seniors have been trying for four years and they finally got it (a league championship) before they left."

Seniors Evelyn Andrade, Stephanie Lopez, Jackie Martinez and Nicole Munoz were recognized during Central Valley's 4-0 Western Athletic Conference season-finale victory against visiting Los Banos on Wednesday.

"It's bittersweet," said Andrade, a third-year varsity player. "It's our last league game."

Martinez collected one goal and one assist.

Junior Blanca Espinoza, and sophomores Trinity Avila and Emely Lopez all scored one goal.

Junior Andrea Ornelas, sophomore Mariana Garibay and freshman Jocelyn Lopez contributed one assist apiece.

The Hawks improved to 18-1-0 overall and placed first in the Western Athletic Conference standings (11-1-0, 33 points).

"I knew we'd have a chance at being a strong team," said Andrade, a standout midfielder. "We work really hard. All of our players are solid. The younger girls have skill and talent. Most importantly, we trust each other. Everybody is on the right page."

Host Central Valley clinched the outright WAC championship with a 4-1 win over third-place Ceres High on May 2.

Zuniga had two goals and one assist against the Bulldogs (8-3-1, 25 points).

Lopez had one goal and two assists.

Sophomore Laiza Quintero had one goal and one assist.

Stephanie Lopez made seven saves.

"We always try hard when we go against Ceres High," Zuniga said. "They're our rivals. We can't lose to that team."

Central Valley reeled off eight straight victories after losing 2-1 to second-place El Capitan (9-2-1, 28 points). The Hawks won their rematch versus the Gauchos, 2-0.

"After we lost to El Capitan, we had to really focus," Zuniga said. "We took them serious the second time. I think we can win multiple league titles if we continue what we're doing. We communicate really well. That's the main key."