Central Valley High School's varsity boys soccer team has the added pressure of being the top seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoffs.
The Hawks welcome the challenge.
"It gives us the advantage of playing at home," Central Valley head coach Omar Leon said. "But it's still 11 versus 11 whether you're the No. 1 or 10 seed. Everyone in the playoffs has something to offer. You have to take every opponent serious because there might not be another game."
The Hawks topped eighth-seeded Rio Americano 3-1 in a quarterfinal matchup on Thursday.
Central Valley won its 19th straight game and improved to 25-1 on the year.
Omar Orozco scored his state-leading 42nd and 43rd goals of the season versus the Raiders.
Juan Medrano tallied one goal and one assist.
Anthony Calvo had one assist.
Hawk goalkeeper Alex Vazquez made five saves.
Rio Americano goalie Randall Rude totaled 15 saves.
Ryan Burns scored for the Raiders (12-4-5).
All four goals were scored in the opening half.
Medrano gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.
Burns evened the score in the 10th minute with a put-back goal.
Orozco excited Hawk fans with goals in the 20th and 29th minutes.
"The kids did wonderful," Leon said. "We played a lot better in the second half even though we didn't score. We stuck to our game plan. They were very competitive and physical. They created a lot of opportunities. The game could have gone either way."
Central Valley wants to put an exclamation point on an already memorable season.
A section title elevates a program to the next level.
The Hawks have good reason to be confident.
"Our objective is to bring the blue banner back to Ceres," said Leon, who se team has an 0-3 record in the section finals. "It will be a special reward for everybody. That will be a dream season."
Central Valley will host No. 4 Vanden (17-0-1) in the semifinals today at 3 p.m.
Other semifinalists are seventh-seeded Ceres High and No. 3 Christian Brothers.
The championship game will be staged this Saturday. Site and time to be determined this week.
"I have nothing to say about that," Leon said when asked about a possible finals matchup with crosstown-rival Ceres High. "Right now, we're thinking about Vanden. It's supposed to be a very good match based on the numbers. Anything can happen. You have to stay consistent to the end. Otherwise, you'll pay the consequences."