Central Valley’s girls soccer team bounced back in a big way this season.
A year removed from struggling to a fifth-place finish in the Central California Conference, the 2020-21 Hawks suffered just one loss en route to claiming the Western Athletic Conference South Division championship.
“It’s very special,” head coach Miguel Larranaga said. “I’m happy for the girls. They earned it. It wasn’t easy. It could have gone the other way.”
Central Valley posted a 7-1-2 record (23 points).
The Hawks edged out the crosstown-rival Bulldogs (7-1-1) by just one point in the standings.
Ceres High played one less conference game than Central Valley this year because of coronavirus protocols.
The Hawks beat and tied the Bulldogs once in league play.
“The chemistry was very good this year,” Larranaga said. “There was no drama. Everybody was positive. The girls supported and motivated each other.”
Central Valley closed out the 2020-21 season with a 5-0 victory over Pacheco on Senior Day at CUSD Stadium on May 26.
It was a must-win game for the Hawks, who would have finished in second place with a tie or loss.
“The girls were relaxed,” Larranaga said.
Central Valley outscored Pacheco 3-0 after intermission.
“We took over in the second half,” Larranaga said. “The girls moved the ball very well. We had a very strong defense.”
Central Valley, which will lose just two players to graduation, will compete in the CCC in 2021-22.
Kaitlyn Coupland and Alondra Sarabia were both recognized during their final home game.
Angie Medrano, Ally Singh, Michelle Soto and Emaly Fernandez, four key starters, will return to the team in 2021-22, along with Isabella Gomez, Abigail Hernandez, Natalie Ibarra, Malina Keomuangchanh, Maddie Mendonsa, Yukari Mendoza, Daniela Rodriguez, Isabella Barajas and Niome McMurray.
“I’m looking forward to next season,” Larranaga said.