Central Valley’s and Ceres High’s girls soccer programs had a combined total of seven players earn Western Athletic Conference South Division honors for their outstanding play during the 2020-21 school year.
The voting process was completed via email this past month.
Hawk Angie Medrano was named Most Valuable Player of the WAC South.
Central Valley’s Emaly Fernandez, Ally Singh and Michelle Soto, and Ceres High’s Jackie Ruiz, Aaliyah Ruiz and Daisy Duran earned first-team all-league accolades.
“They were the backbone of the team,” Bulldogs’ head coach Hannah Menk said while talking about her three players.
Central Valley (7-1-2, 23 points) and Ceres High (7-1-1, 22 points) placed first and second, respectively, in the conference standings.
The Bulldogs played one less league game than the Hawks this year because of coronavirus protocols.
Central Valley beat and tied Ceres High once in WAC South play.
Medrano, a sophomore forward, tallied nine goals and three assists.
“She put the team on her shoulders and did everything she could to help us win,” Hawks’ head coach Miguel Larranaga said. “She’s very competitive. She gives 100 percent from the first minute to the last minute. She motivates the other girls. I expect her to come back stronger next year.”
Fernandez, a freshman forward, netted eight goals and dished out three assists.
“From game one, she was a starter and never let me down,” Larranaga said. “She had a good year.”
Singh, a junior midfielder, had three goals and a team-high eight assists.
“She’s a very talented player,” Larranaga said. “The technique she has with her feet is very nice.”
Soto, a sophomore midfielder, had four goals and four assists.
“She’s a very strong player,” Larranaga said. “She’s got a lot of talent. She’s been playing soccer for a lot of years.”
Jackie Ruiz, a senior, logged playing time at striker when she didn’t contribute at goalkeeper. She collected a team-leading nine goals and three assists.
“I’m happy other people recognized how I played my final year,” said Ruiz, Ceres High’s all-time leading goalscorer. “I didn’t meet my personal expectations for this season. I should have done a lot better.”
Ruiz would have scored more goals this year if she didn’t spend half the season at goalkeeper. “The individual success doesn’t mean anything if the team isn’t doing as well,” Jackie said. “I had to do what’s best for the team.”
Twin sister Aaliyah Ruiz contributed at center back, defensive center midfielder, attacking midfielder and striker during her final season with the Bulldogs.
She collected eight goals and a team-high six assists.
“She played wherever we needed her,” Menk said.
Jackie and Aaliyah teamed up for three seasons at the varsity level.
“We set a culture there where you need to work hard and give it your all at every practice,” Jackie Ruiz said. “It sucks I’m not going to be able to play with her anymore. We’re a really good duo. Without her, I wouldn’t have become the player I am today. She helps me on the field so much.”
“They’re equally knowledgeable,” Menk said. “They’re able to foresee plays. They’re versatile. They’re athletic. They’re solid players.”
Duran, a junior, was the Bulldogs’ top defensive player.
She started at center back.
“She was an unsung hero,” Menk said. “She did a lot of work back there for us. Her talent really stood out.”